The spectacular migration of birds will this year be beamed live from Rift Valley flyway to the world in an effort to create awareness and celebrate the magical attraction.
The event will be beamed on ebird.org from Tugumoi Observatory Ridge in Baringo County.
The coverage will kick off once migrant birds start arriving in Kenya on October 28 following the onset of the winter season in Europe.
On their entry into Kenya, most migrant birds prefer the Rift Valley flyway, a traditional flight path that has since been ranked the second most important flyway in the world.
North Rift Tourism Coordinator William Kimosop said the bird migration had already started with a treacherous journey where they encounter several obstacles including sport hunting and collision with power pylons.
“Due to the Covid-19, few people might travel for bird watching at Tugumoi Observatory and the event will have to be beamed for the millions of viewers across the world. This is the first time such is happening,” he said.
Migratory birds often fly thousands of kilometres across continents to find the best habitats for feeding, breeding and raising their young.
Kimosop said already spots where cameras will be mounted to facilitate digitising the spectacular attractions have been identified. “This will enable the community to share the magic to the world and also help in raising awareness in conserving birds,” he said.
Yesterday was the October Big Day, used to celebrate birds around the world, and falls on the first Global Bird Weekend that lobbies for an end to illegal bird trade. Nature Kenya, a conservation organisation that majors in conserving birds, said several other events had been organised to encourage birding activities. The events include encouraging locals to participate in virtual birding events within their regions and submitting their records to e-bird, an online platform that record sighting of birds globally.
“These events are targeted at raising awareness on the need to conserve wetlands and raise awareness on the dangers these birds are facing, including the infrastructure developments along their flyways,” Paul Matiku, Nature Kenya director said.
Celebrated bird expert Fleur Ng’weno said what makes bird migration spectacular is the fact that they make the longest migrations on earth.
“The Arctic Tern, for example, nests in the Arctic but flies across the earth to the Antarctic in the non-breeding season. Last year, a Common Cuckoo born in Mongolia in Eastern Asia was tracked as it flew to Kenya and then Zambia – and back to Mongolia this year,” she said. Migratory birds are among dozens of species expected to grace major wetlands in the country in a phenomenon that will last through to January next year.
More than 40 per cent of long-distance migrants in the African-Eurasian flyway have shown signs of decline over the last three decades.
Of these, 10 per cent are classified by Bird Life as globally threatened or near threatened on the IUCN Red List. Many of these birds are continuing to disappear.