I wrote the essay in Indonesia and translated into English. I received some help during translation from Ibu and final grammar check from Kak Lizzie Fierro, because this is the first time I wrote an essay in English.
Protecting Bird through Children
I started regularly birdwatching by joining the Jakarta Bird Walk since the end of 2013. The Jakarta Birdwatcher's Society has held its monthly walk since May 2013. Every time I see new bird species, I feel an urge to see more. I have kept a life list since January 2015 and have seen 256 out of 1.615  species of birds in Indonesia as of May 2016.
I visited the local parks and urban forests around Jakarta with the community to view birds. Then I practiced identifying birds around my home almost every day. In May 2014 my mother took me to my late grandfather’s hometown in West Sumatra to attend a family gathering. I came across 40 bird species around the village just within a week, without making a special effort to go into the forest.
After that I realized there are so many birds outside of Jakarta. I began to think about how I could visit other parts of Indonesia. One day my mother received an email about a Residency Program at Bumi Pemuda Rahayu , an ecological learning center located in a village about 25 km from Yogyakarta City. I proposed to stay in the center for two weeks in October 2015 and identify local birds with the help of local children.
I initially thought the local children must know their village very well and could show me where to find many wild birds. But surprisingly my thought was totally wrong. “Birds are to be shot, eaten and fried,” my new friends immediately said when I invited them for birdwatching.
At least five of them told me that they like hunting with their father. They usually catch Barred buttonquail (Turnix suscitator). The head of the village said the bird population is declining because of hunting. I also met an old lady during a morning walk and she kindly told me to speak with a hunter when she knew I was looking for birds. She never met anyone looking for wild birds just to take a picture.
At the moment I can feel why the birdwatchers in Indonesia are very concerned about bird hunting. According to Bird Life, 132  species of birds in Indonesia are globally threatened, or 2nd rank in the world . If they go extinct, we can no longer hear their beautiful chirp and see their color. Unfortunately, not many people realize birds are important for human life. Birds help maintain bug population, pollinate flowers, and distribute seeds.
After realizing the challenge, I tried to share with my new friends the fun of birdwatching. I organized several morning and evening walks to see birds for them. I contacted several members of a birdwatching group from Yogyakarta City to join the walks. They taught the children how to identify birds and let them try using a binocular. This made the observation more fun.
One afternoon a group of boys ran to the center to borrow my field guide book because they saw an eagle flying around when they were playing. They often visited the center after school just to tell me the bird species they saw at school or on their way to and from school. I am very happy because my friends now like to observe birds around their home, school, and while playing outside.
My experience shows that birdwatching activities are actually very attractive for the children. I think one of the solutions to prevent bird hunting and trading is by organizing more bird walks for children and promoting the birdwatching group's schedule to the general public, especially children. Children can share their experience with their parents or other adults. Moreover when they grow up they will not think to shoot birds or keep them as pets.
I usually share the bird pictures after my birdwatching trip and blog about the journey. I have received many positive responses and it seems the readers start to notice the beauty of wild birds around them. Several times my relatives and my family's friends sent me pictures and questions about what kind of of birds they saw around their home or during vacation.
I also selected several best pictures and printed them as greeting cards. My purpose is to raise money for my next trip, but my customers become aware that Indonesia has many beautiful bird in nature after seeing the cards. I also have a chance to inform them that birds should always be free and should not be kept as pets in captivity.
Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.
Namaku Kaysan. Belajar melalui pengamatan alam, perjalanan, dan berinteraksi dengan banyak orang.
Menyimpan jurnal perjalanan dan foto. Berbagi cerita lewat blog ini, instagram, dan video #OASEmenit