Flight pattern of birds in disarray


MALACCA: The current hot weather and strong winds are believed to be affecting the arrival of migratory birds at their traditional spots here.

While the number of raptors arriving at the Tanjung Tuan Forest Reserve has swelled, fewer birds are flying into the Pengkalan bird sanctuary.

In Tanjung Tuan, some 43,000 raptors, mostly oriental honey buzzards, were recorded during a three-week counting period that ended yesterday.

Malaysian Nature Society bird conservative council chairman Mark Ng Meng Yong said it registered 48,000 raptors during a six-week counting period last year.

“This time around, the number is overwhelming in just 21 days of observation,” he said.

“The figure should easily surpass that of 2015 in the next few days,” Ng added during an interview here yesterday.

The count, Ng said, was focused on a tiny green lung along the Negri Sembilan and Malacca border.

Raptors converge at Tanjung Tuan during their crossing to and from Sumatra and other Indonesian islands before continuing on the rest of their journey.

The distance between Tanjung Tuan and Sumatra is only 10 nautical miles, making it the narrowest point for the birds to cross the Straits of Malacca.

However, Ng said strong winds could be the reason for the decline in other migratory birds to the Pengkalan bird sanctuary in Alor Gajah.

“The heatwave could also be another factor but from our analysis, we strongly believe that this is due to the current strong winds, making it hard for birds to fly to their traditional destinations,” he said, adding that these were mostly from the heron family such as the black crowned night heron and the purple heron.