My name is Mya-Rose Craig and I am 12 years old. I am an ornithologist, conservationist, writer and speaker. I am also Ambassador for World Shorebirds Day.
I have chosen to champion World Shorebirds Day because it is an organisation that celebrates waders (shorebirds) and those trying to conserve them each 6th September. The day is 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.
2014 was the first event, with 413 birders taking part. Of the 225 waders on the IOC world list, 123 were seen worldwide. It would be really great if we can increase the numbers taking part and make it the first huge global birding event.
I have a real connection and love of waders. They are my dad, Chris Craig’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.
Waders migrate huge distances along nine flyways, from breeding grounds through stop over points to wintering grounds. The ones that fly along the East-Asian Australasian Flyway are at most risk due to the destruction of sites in Asia.
Wintering Spoon-billed Sandpiper in Bangladesh. Image courtesy of Bangladesh Spoon-billed Sandpiper Conservation Project
As a young Bangladeshi birder, I am really proud of the Spoon-billed Sandpiper and the efforts to save this amazing bird from extinction. It breeds in Russia and winters in Bangladesh and Burma, stopping off in China and Thailand and migrating a huge 8,000 km each way.
World Shorebirds Day has been raising money for Spoon-billed Sandpiper, as its ‘Shorebird of the Year’. Image courtesy of Bangladesh Spoon-billed Sandpiper Conservation Project
This wader is a flagship species that lots of organisations are involved with in a task force.
Spoon-billed Sandpiper is a species of the inter-tidal wetlands and so if their habitat is protected, it will help the other 80 waders also living there. Also, stopping hunting of Spoon-billed Sandpiper will also stop the hunting of other birds.
My trip to help Spoon-billed Sandpipers
It is really important to save the Spoon-billed Sandpiper, so that no more waders becoming extinct like Slender-billed Curlew and Eskimo Curlew.
Photos of the education program in Bangladesh. Image courtesy of Bangladesh Spoon-billed Sandpiper Conservation Project
Image courtesy of Bangladesh Spoon-billed Sandpiper Conservation Project
I am in Bangladesh at the moment and taking part in Spoon-billed Sandpiper survey work on Sonadia Island, a major wintering site. Also, I will be meeting villagers on the island including ex-hunters and school children who have been part of the education programme, which I am really excited about. I am also giving a fundraising talk at Long Beach Suites Hotel, House # CEN 4 (G), Road #104, Gulshan-2, Dhaka 1212, Bangladesh 4.00 pm at on Friday 20th February 2015, so please come if you can.
About the author Mya-Rose Craig is based in the UK and writes the successful Birdgirl Blog, with posts about birding and conservation from around the world. Part of her family is from Bangladesh, where she hopes to promote bird conservation and tours. She has recently been listed with the singer songwriter George Ezra and actress Maisy Williams from Game of Thrones as one of Bristol’s most influential young people. Please like her Birdgirl Facebook Page and follow her on Birdgirl Twitter.