A treasure trove awaits nature lovers at MIBF

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  At the very entrance of Muscat International Book Fair awaits a treasure trove that is a pleasant surprise for nature enthusiasts. A book containing the official list of birds in the Sultanate narrates to birders and book lovers, in a masterfully condensed form, what is interesting about each species. Oman Bird List, the first of its kind with very lively and vivid photographs of birds, is one of the favourite picks at the book fair. The book talks about many interesting aspects of various birds found in Oman. This comprehensive directory of birds published by the Centre for Environment and Research, Sultan Qaboos University, has 513 bird species that are officially accepted by the Oman Bird Records Committee up to September 15, 2013.
In addition, one extinct subspecies and 30 species considered as escapees are listed in separate sections.
“The list is based on a computerised database that holds all bird observations from the Sultanate,” says the introductory note in the book.
The seventh edition of the book, authored jointly by Jens Eriksen and Reginald Victor, gives all essential scientific details of the birds listed.
“Most visitors to the pavilion do have a look at the book to know more about their natural habitats in Oman,” said Yahya al Haji, Media Specialist at the University.
The seventh edition of the book is useful for the young generation of Oman to know their country’s rich nature so that they could love, preserve and conserve it for future generations.
“The impact one has on nature is very important and once you learn how to take care of and respect these creatures — whether they are birds or mammals — you will be able to understand them more intimately,” said Yahya.
Love for nature and efforts to know about creatures in it can be a healthy hobby for young people to keep them focused and enthusiastic, helping develop creativity while they learn something new.
The information in the book includes species number and taxonomy and status like whether they are vagrant, rare, uncommon, fairly common, common, or abundant.
Also included are the regions where each species is found, histograms for all migratory species and breeding maps for all breeding species.
Histograms showing monthly distributions are given in Oman Bird List for all migratory species and for vagrants with at least five accepted records. The authors recommend birdwatchers to have more visits to Musandam during migration of birds and in winter season.
Regular visits to certain migratory points such as Ras Al Hadd, Ras Mirbat and desert oases such as Muntasar and Marmul are also recommended to identify more species of birds.
The authors believe that despite many advances in their knowledge of the bird life in Oman in the last few decades, much future work still needs to be done.
With only a dozen or so of resident birders to cover such a vast area like the Sultanate, it is clear that many birds pass through the country unnoticed.

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