Speaking at Bangladesh Independence Day Celebrations

Speaking at Bangladesh Independence Day Celebrations

Spoon-billed Sandpiper on Sonadia Island, Bangladesh

Sonadia Island
Photograph taken by and copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

I am really proud of my Bangladeshi heritage. It means a lot to me and knowing about Bangladeshi wildlife and conservation projects is important.

On 26 March 1971, 45 years ago today, Sheikh Mujib, declared Bangladesh an independent country. The war was not won until November that year, but the birth of the nation is celebrated on this date.

The Bangladeshi students at University of the West of England (UWE) have a Bangladeshi Students’ Group and were holding a celebration of independence.

First we heard a speakers talking about their memories of the war, their fear of being killed in the massacres and the tactics used by General Usmani (who was trained in the British Army) to win the war. It was interesting that Bangladeshi’s knowledge of their nature, rivers and habitats were used to help win the war. I had never really heard anyone talk about this.

Sayam U Chowdhury is a prominent Bangladeshi conservationist who runs the Bangladesh Spoon-billed Sandpiper Conservation Project

I gave a talk called “Celebrating Bangladesh’s Spoon-billed Sandpiper”. I talked about Sayam U Chowdhury and his brilliant Bangladesh Spoon-billed Sandpiper Conservation Project, visiting the Spoon-billed Sandpipers with Sayam at the Wildlife and Wetlands Trust (WWT) Slimbridge, my trip to Sonadia Island to survey Spoon-billed Sandpiper with the project and the importance of media publicity.

Mohammed Foysal and Sakib Ahmed from the Bangladesh Spoon-billed Sandpiper Conservation Project
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig, Sakib Ahmed and Mohammed Foysal from the Bangladesh Spoon-billed Sandpiper Conservation Project
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig, Sakib Ahmed and Mohammed Foysal from the Bangladesh Spoon-billed Sandpiper Conservation Project
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig and Mohammed Foysal from the Bangladesh Spoon-billed Sandpiper Conservation Project
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig with local children and the Bangladesh Spoon-billed Sandpiper Conservation Project
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

I also talked about the World Shorebirds Day project and the Spoon-billed Sandpiper being one of it’s nominated birds.

I mentioned the talk I gave in Dhaka but this was the first time I had spoken to Bangladeshi’s in the UK. People talk me afterwards how interesting it was to hear about one of their own birds, that they didn’t know about. There were also quite a few children in the audience, who seemed to stop fidgeting when I started talking.

It was great to be able to talk about committed conservationists in Bangladesh like Sayam U Chowdhury and those working for his like Mohammed Foysal and Sakib Ahmed. They are a fantastic inspiration and I am really lucky to have met them and been allowed to survey Bangladesh’s Spoon-billed Sandpiper with them. I am sure that the audience were proud to learn that Bangladeshi conservationists were influencing not only those in Bangladesh but also conservationists across the world.
Quite a few of the Bangladeshi students were studying law and all talked about it being a high earning profession in Bangladeshi. Mum (who was a partner in a law firm) and I talked to them about how important it was that they were committed to saving the environment and promoting human rights when they return, as the country was relying on them. I’m not sure that they will but maybe I will have sparked an interest.

 

About The Author

Hi, I’m Dr. Mya-Rose Craig. I am a 19-year-old prominent British-Bangladeshi ornithologist, environmentalist, diversity activist as well as an author, speaker and broadcaster. At age 11 I started the popular blog Birdgirl, and at age 17 I became the youngest person to see half of the birds in the world.

Buy My Book

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

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To find out more about working with me or to buy my book, please use the links below.

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The Article in the OBC Magazine about my trip to Bangladesh

The Article in the OBC Magazine about my trip to Bangladesh

I made a trip in February 2015 to Bangladesh, to survey the rare Spoon-billed Sandpiper that winter on Sonadia Island, give a talk in Dhaka and raise the profile of the birds through the Bangladesh media. The trip was important to me as I am half Bangladeshi and also because I am the Ambassador for World Shorebird Day, a wader charity.

My trip was supported by the Bangladesh Bird Club, many of whom attended my talk in Dhaka.

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig with Bangladesh Bird Club, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

The Oriental Bird Club (OBC) then published an article about my trip in their June 2015 Magazine, Birding Asia. I felt extremely proud to have an article published in the OBC Magazine, which is extremely highly regarded.

Article in June 2015 OBC Birding Asia Magazine

About The Author

Hi, I’m Dr. Mya-Rose Craig. I am a 19-year-old prominent British-Bangladeshi ornithologist, environmentalist, diversity activist as well as an author, speaker and broadcaster. At age 11 I started the popular blog Birdgirl, and at age 17 I became the youngest person to see half of the birds in the world.

Buy My Book

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Find Out More

To find out more about working with me or to buy my book, please use the links below.

Work With MeBuy Book

World Shorebirds Day – 4, 5, 6 Sept 2015 – How the day went

World Shorebirds Day – 4, 5, 6 Sept 2015 – How the day went

As well as being a young birder and conservationist, I am also Ambassador for World Shorebirds Day.

I have chosen to champion World Shorebirds Day because it is an organisation that each September celebrates waders (shorebirds) and those trying to conserve them. Waders often migrate long distances along nine flyways worldwide. They stop off to rest in different places along the flyways, making them vulnerable. World Shorebirds Day has been set up to show how important bird surveying is so that people who don’t normally count birds can improve and that the number involved worldwide increases.

Young Birder Mya-Rose on Sonadia Island, Bangladesh looking at waders
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

I have a real connection and love of waders. They are my dad’s favourite bird groups and through years of watching and studying them, he is amazing at identifying them. That love for waders has rubbed off on me.

On Sunday 6 September 2015, World Shorebirds Day, I woke up in a hotel in Derbyshire. We had been in Cambridge the day before, for the Oriental Bird Club AGM. After dinner with a few other people, we set off driving north. We had trouble finding anywhere to stay and I thought we might end up sleeping in the car again (that’s a whole other story!).

In the morning, Dad drove us to Spurn, where we looked for a Black Stork that had been there a few weeks. As we had been away in East Africa, this was my first chance to try and see it. That would be a new British bird for me and if I saw it, would be my 450th. However, it was not to be and by 1 pm we arrived at the Spurn Migfest. I didn’t bump into any Next Generation Birders (NGB) there, who had been around, but did get brilliant views of a Barred Warbler and more importantly, we saw it within 2 minutes of coming out of the barn.

Then it was time for me to do my wader count for World Shorebird Day. I checked out a couple of pools and my wader count was the following, of which the Ruff was my favourite:

  • 1 Greenshank
  • 890 Redshank
  • 1 Green Sandpiper
  • 200 Dunlin
  • 2 Black-tailed Godwit
  • 16 Lapwing
  • 1 Turnstone
  • 2 Ringed Plover
  • 1 Ruff

It would be really great if we can increase the numbers taking part and make it the first huge global birding event.

World Shorebird Day Project, South Korea
Photograph taken by and copyright Eugene Cheah

World Shorebird Day Project, South Korea
Photograph taken by and copyright Eugene Cheah

In Bangladesh they made it into a huge events, involving lots of school children and t-shirts for everyone. In a poor country like Bangladesh, new t-shirts are sought after and I’m sure they will be worn a lot, reminding the children of the day and the importance of looking after waders.

World Shorebird Day Project, Bangladesh
Photograph taken by and copyright Mohsin Kabir Miron

The events in Bangladesh were inspiring and it would be great if they could be replicated next year across the globe. First, we need to raise money for t-shirts and people to get enthused about the project, maybe through the Neotropic, African and Oriental Bird Clubs.

World Shorebird Day Project, Bangladesh
Photograph taken by and copyright Mohsin Kabir Miron

This is another report from the USA

World Shorebirds Day Field Trip Results


Read my first blog on the World Shorebirds Day website, http://bit.ly/18UVWu4 and register to take part, where ever you live in the world.

About The Author

Hi, I’m Dr. Mya-Rose Craig. I am a 19-year-old prominent British-Bangladeshi ornithologist, environmentalist, diversity activist as well as an author, speaker and broadcaster. At age 11 I started the popular blog Birdgirl, and at age 17 I became the youngest person to see half of the birds in the world.

Buy My Book

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Find Out More

To find out more about working with me or to buy my book, please use the links below.

Work With MeBuy Book

Oriental Bird Club – AGM 5th Sept 2015

Oriental Bird Club – AGM 5th Sept 2015

On 5th September 2015, I spoke about Spoon-billed Sandpiper in Bangladesh and World Shorebird Day, which I’m an Ambassador for at the OBC AGM.

Advert for OBC AGM in OBC Magazine Birding Asia, June 2015

I talked about my trip to Bangladesh in February, where I did a Spoon-billed Sandpiper survey (19 birds recorded) and how as a British Bangladeshi I managed to get the top Bangladeshi Newspapers and TV Stations to report on my visit and the importance of these birds to Bangladesh.

Young birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Photograph taken by and copyright Tim Losebury

The Oriental Bird Club (OBC) is a UK based organisation with members around the world. Their main aim is to help conserve birds in Asia. They help with the funding of projects, like this grant for training young Bangladesh Bird Club Members to ring (with the emphasis on waders so that in the future they can ring Spoon-billed Sandpipers) http://orientalbirdclub.org/bertram-smythies/
This year’s OBC AGM took place in Cambridge on Saturday 5th September 2015.

Young birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Photograph taken by and copyright Tim Losebury, OBC

The programme also included:

China’s Grippers – a talk on the most sought-after birds of China by Pete Morris (Birdquest Leader)
Baer’s Pochard: responding to a critical situation by Dr Debbie Pain, Director of Conservation, WWT
In search of the endemic birds of Taiwan – by Andy Walker
Restoration of Indonesian rainforest – sustainable model or Government whim? by Andrew Impey, Head of Global Habitats, RSPB
Videoing around the Philippines by Keith Blomerley

The programme looked really interesting, especially the conservation talks.

I was particularly interested in the Baer’s Pochard talk, as the WWT’s Nigel Jarrett had already asked me to get involved, which I hope to do in 2016. It is close to my heart as they used to winter in Tangua Hoar, Sunamgonj, Sylhet, Bangladesh. My grandfather is from Sunamganj and I have a great-aunt who lives in Tangua. Apparently, he used to tell my big sister how beautiful it was there. My Mum and Dad saw 6 Baer’s Pochard there in Dec 2000 and I would like to see them back there again.

I loved hearing about trips and was interested in the restoration of rainforest on Sumatra, as I was keen to find out what can be done to overcome the issue of palm oil plantations.

As well to me, there were three young boys watching their dad who was one of the speakers and Andrew Walker who it was good to meet finally and who was under 40.
Andrew Walker’s talk and slides are on this link

http://awbirder.blogspot.co.uk/2015/09/in-search-of-endemic-birds-of-taiwan.html

Last year the AGM was in London and a group of Next Generation Birders (under 25) came. This year they were involved in the Spurn MigFest the same weekend, so couldn’t come. It would be good to get some younger people to attend next year so that they can get involved in Asian conservation projects.

About The Author

Hi, I’m Dr. Mya-Rose Craig. I am a 19-year-old prominent British-Bangladeshi ornithologist, environmentalist, diversity activist as well as an author, speaker and broadcaster. At age 11 I started the popular blog Birdgirl, and at age 17 I became the youngest person to see half of the birds in the world.

Buy My Book

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Find Out More

To find out more about working with me or to buy my book, please use the links below.

Work With MeBuy Book