The Lekki Bird Club in Nigeria proves committed to bird monitoring and conservation
The Lekki Bird Club (LBC) is a volunteer-based bird conservation group focused on increasing the awareness of bird conservation in Lagos, Nigeria and also on the generation of bird data. This is achieved via the involvement of amateurs and volunteers in bird related activities like bird-watching in local birding sites, organization of talks/lectures, and publications in the form of trip reports and newsletters. Membership is drawn from all walks of life, which gives LBC the uniqueness of leveraging on its own diversity to achieve the goal of bird conservation in Lagos.
Since its inception in March 2009, LBC has remained committed to this goal by organising numerous bird-watching expeditions that enable us collect scientific data during our leisure trips and other activities that encourage bird conservation. Our success story has provided a strong platform to replicate LBC in other cities across the country.
Birding Experience and Data Collection
As a bird club situated in Lagos where land development is highest in the country, birding has never felt better. Put differently, despite the obvious implications of environmental squalor around most birding areas in the city (e.g. degraded woodlands, polluted wetlands), we have had the opportunity to observe and collate an impressive checklist of birds as they adapt to our ‘urbanisation’.
Species of global significance including migratory and threatened birds have been recorded during our trips in Lagos. Some of them include Hooded Vulture, Palm-nut Vulture, Whimbrel and the Open-Billed Stork. Others are Collared Pratincole, Common Ringed Plover and Wood Sandpiper, which are listed in the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA). Some of the sites where these species have been recorded include the Tarkwa Bay, National Arts Theatre and Nature Reserve of the Lekki Conservation Centre. Other includes Majek Farms and Muritala Mohammed Botanical Garden.
However, the LBC is not just about globally important and threatened species, but also about the common species we see daily that have graced our gardens, nested in our cubbyholes, lurked around our windows and even orchestrated beautiful melodies to our ears. The Common Bulbuls, Woodland Kingfisher, Laughing Dove, Variable Sunbird, Didric Cuckoo, Village Weavers, Pied Crows and the likes, have all collectively maintained the ecosystem with their services and acted as indicators to the state of our immediate environment.
In May 2012, the club hosted members and other prominent nature enthusiasts to its first in the series of lectures. The well attended evening talk, which was hosted in the Chevron Club House, focused on the “Roles of Volunteers in Bird Conservation in Nigeria” and was delivered by Prof. E. U. Ezealor. The evening talk is part of the LBC’s effort to further propagate the club activities and reach a wider audience. The same feat is achieved with the publications.
Publications like trip reports and newsletters are also produced to give us a wide-eye and as much as possible, to delight our readers. Locally, our publications have stirred up nature’s excitement in some of our subscribers and have obliged them to be part of the club. Internationally, it has provided the platform to network with similar bird clubs outside the country and share experiences by featuring our articles in their publications.
In March 2013, LBC and the Nigerian Field Society (NFS) jointly organised a birding competition tagged "Lagos Bird-Watching Challenge" from 2nd to 3rd March, 2013. This was to further stir the interest of bird-watching among members of both clubs.
Partnership and Sustainability
The club has received support in form of birding equipment like binoculars and DSLR camera from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), UK and Idea Wild, USA. We also only recently received funds from the African Bird Club (ABC) Conservation Fund for a pre-establishment training workshop of Ibadan Bird Club.
Replication in other Nigerian Cities
In line with the objective of increasing the stake of bird conservation in Nigeria, we are at the threshold of establishing another local bird club in Ibadan by the name Ibadan Bird Club (IBC). We are currently organising a 3-day training workshop to hold from 5th to 7th March, 2014 for the prospective core members of IBC. This will focus on developing the capacity of participants to effectively promote the conservation of birds and their habitats in Ibadan. This program will be implemented together with our local partners in Ibadan; Forest Project in International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and department of Wildlife and Ecotourism in University of Ibadan. The replication of another bird club in Finima, Rivers State is also in the pipeline.
Story by Nigerian Conservation Foundation