The Big Bird Race is WWF-Hong Kong’s longest-running fundraising event. Established in 1984, the funds raised directly contribute to the conservation and management of the Mai Po Nature Reserve, a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention.
2015 marks the 31st anniversary of the race. The race has grown and evolved over these three decades but has always generated great enthusiasm among bird-watchers, both local and, more recently, overseas. Aside from the pure enjoyment of the competition, participants also have the opportunity to sharpen their bird-watching skills and improve their knowledge of birds.
How Big Bird Race Works
The Big Bird Race is a 12-hour bird-watching “race”. Bird-watchers work together in teams of four to record as many bird species as possible during this time. Every species recorded must be seen or heard by all members of the team. Geographically, teams may start anywhere in Hong Kong, but must return to the Mai Po Nature Reserve at the end of the race. A judge will examine each team’s Log Books to determine the winners.
The Big Bird Race will be held on 17 January 2015 (Saturday). The race will last for 12 hours – from 6:30am to 6:30pm.
Teams may begin bird-watching on their own at 6:30am anywhere in Hong Kong. Participants may wish to carry their own binoculars and bird guides to assist with bird spotting. As Mai Po and Tai Po Kau accommodate a large variety of birds, they have been the most popular sites for most participants over the years; however participants are welcome to use their own bird-watching sites as well.
Teams are required to record every bird species they see or hear in their Event Log Book. They are also required to return to the Mai Po Nature Reserve Visitor Centre at or before 6:30pm and turn in their Log Books to the adjudicator. The adjudicator will examine the accuracy of each record, making reference to a number of factors such as the weather, the latest migratory bird population and others. They will also compare the results of the different teams to see if there are any anomalies or irregular records. The adjudicator will then make a professional judgment and determine the winning team.
Participants are required to refer to The Avifauna of Hong Kong, Carey et al. 2001, written by the adjudicator. Only species listed in either Categories A to D in the book, species listed in the race Log Book, or any other species accepted by the adjudicator will form part of the count. The following restrictions also apply:
1. Birds must be unrestrained.
2. Oiled or sick birds will not be counted.
3. Species which have obviously been released from captivity within a few days of the Race will not be counted.
4. All species must be recorded within the territorial area of the Hong Kong SAR.
5. Only positively identified species are acceptable.
6. Attracting birds with tape-recorders or any type of digital audio equipment is prohibited.
The results will be announced at the Post-Event Dinner held immediately after the race. To ensure the results are fair to everybody, the adjudicator will re-examine all Log Books and release the Adjudicator’s Report one week after the race.
If you want to participate and want to know more, please visit the WWF Hong Kong website.
Date: 17 January 2015 (Saturday)
Time: 6:30am – 6:30pm (12 hour race)
Location: Bird-watching teams may begin anywhere in Hong Kong. However, participants are required to return to the Mai Po Nature Reserve on or before 6:30pm
About WWF-Hong Kong:
WWF is a leading global conservation organisation, with a global network active in more than 100 countries.
WWF’s mission is to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature. WWF was founded in 1961 with headquarters based in Switzerland. Operating for nearly fifty years, WWF has forged unprecedented global partnerships with governments, other NGOs and the private sector, and has inspired individuals to take action and make a difference.
WWF-Hong Kong has been working since 1981 to deliver solutions for a living planet through Conservation, Footprint and Education programmes.
Volunteering: Volunteering for WWF is a great way to get personally involved in local conservation and for experience working in environmental protection. WWF welcomes volunteers at a range of levels, from office assistance to fundraising and even field work at sites such as Mai Po in Hong Kong. Visit their website for more information, to fill out an online form, download their volunteer form or email WWF-Hong Kong.