Look to the sky

Negeri Sembilan, Port Dickson in particular, played host this month to Malaysia's biggest eco-tourism event, Raptor Watch 2016.

Organised by the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) the festival celebrates the return of the migratory birds of prey who are heading back to their breeding grounds in the northern hemisphere.

The birds return like clockwork every year at the same time, ( mid-February to mid-April) and same spot, (Tanjung Tuan) so when you tilt your head back and look up at the sky you are bound to see an eagle of some sort. Buzzardsand hawks, returning home to Siberia, Northern China, Japan, Korea, the Himalayas and Malaysia after fleeing the cold climatic conditions of the north for a few months.

Raptor Watch takes place in the first week of March every year with up to 50,000 raptors making the journey seemingly guided by their personal GPS.

These B-52’s of the bird world can travel more than 10,000 km's during a 60 day flight, gliding in formation like bombers - raptors are extremely territorial birds and do not normally flock together, but they put aside their differences to fly and hunt in close proximity with each other during the migration.

Tanjung Tuan forest reserve is one of the last bastions of rainforest on the Malaysian west coast, and is a vital navigational signpost for the birds after finding their way across the Malacca strait, something they have been doing for centuries.


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