Asian Waterbird Census (AWC) 2022 has kicked off

The number and species of waterbirds indicate the quality of habitats; thus, they are the key indicators of wetlands health. Wetlands provide feeding, resting, and foraging habitats for millions of wetlands dependent birds. The annual count of the waterbird population at their wintering wetlands is a cost-effective way to monitor regional population trends, the key to determining the quality and identification of the wetlands of high importance. These data are crucial for the development of conservation strategies. In Nepal, every January Hundreds of citizen scientists and volunteers engage on waterbird count covering major wetlands throughout the countries. Asian Waterbird Census is one of the longest-running citizen scientist-based programs in Asia and the first internationally coordinated waterbird count was organized in January 1967. Now in its 55th year, the International Waterbird Census has become a vital source of information for the conservation and management of wetlands and waterbirds around the world. This is the story of one of the world’s most important and valuable monitoring programs. For the last 35 years, many citizen scientists are counting the waterbird population in Nepal during the mid-winter waterbird count as part of the Asian Waterbird Census (AWC).

Himalayan Nature is the host institution in Nepal for the Asian Waterbird Census (AWC) and has been providing support to the national coordinator for the Wetlands International, Dr Hem Sagar Baral. Every year, we mobilize over 350 citizen scientists/volunteers to conduct the mid-winter waterbird count as a part of AWC. Citizen scientists are a valuable resource to continue this program.

For this year we started to count from 1 January and will be completed on 16 January. Our site coordinators along with the volunteers and other supporters are already at the various wetlands throughout the country to conduct a waterbird census. Although in some sites the count has been completed, in most of the sites the count is progressing. If you wish to join the counting, please do contact our site coordinators, so that they will guide you for the joining.