Friday, September 28, 2012

Lesser Birds of Paradise

This is perhaps the most sought after birds in the world. People have hunted the Lesser Birds of Paradise since hundreds of years ago. Because of the continuous hunting, it is now facing extinction in several parts of New Guinea or West Papua forest. In 1980s, they could still be seen in the jungle of Table Mountain near Manokwari town. Today, I cannot see or watch the birds in that jungle anymore. Although Table Mountain is protected by the Department of Forestry of the Indonesian government, it is facing constant destruction from the town dwellers. Hunters carrying air guns like to go into the jungle of Table Mountain to shoot cuscus, soa-soa (monitor lizards) and birds.
After searching the birds since 2010, finally, I was able to find their dancing site located in he territory of Warmarway village. It is a 1-hour ride from Manokwari town. There four or five trees that have been chosen by the birds of paradise as the place where they perform courtship dance in the mornings and in the afternoons just before sunset. The trees stand on a hill with steep slope. I've got a blurred photograph of the male that I shot using Nikon Coolpix P500. I hope that I can make better pictures in the future.
As a nature lover and eco-tourism enthusiast, I try to protect the area by offering birdwatching tours to tourists who want to watch birds of paradise. I hope that this environmentally friendly eco-tourism scheme will help local Papuan villagers generate alternative income that can replace their present livelihood.
I recommend Alice Auri (English speaking guide) who can arrange and guide birdwatchers in Warmarway. Her cell phone number is +6281248525116. So, if you are interested in coming to Manokwari town to watch the birds, don't forget to contact her. If she is busy, you could contact Yunus Sayori +6281343316087. He is the villager of Warmarway who can bring you to the birding site. He also can call owl and cuscus at nights. A lot of species of plants in the jungle of this Arfak mountains including bamboos, big trees, orchids, and glowing mushrooms.