The photo exhibition organised by the Taqah Volunteers was unique in terms of timing and topic. At this time of year birds from East Asia and Eurasia migrate to many Middle Eastern countries and a large chunk of them find Oman cozy and comfortable. They spend the winter here and back again to their respective countries as the winter wanes and summer starts.
It is interesting to understand this journey of the birds, as this exhibition comprising 27 photographs showcased different kinds of birds, many of them we see on daily basis but fail to give due recognition to these rare guests. The pictures taken by photographers from Oman, India, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait attracted huge interest from the visitors at one of the galleries of the Salalah Gardens Mall.
Explaining the pictures, Taqah Volunteers member Khalid Hassan Ateeq said the exhibition was of prime importance to create awareness among the people about the migratory birds, as they come from far away countries to spend winter in Oman same like their human counterparts who come in charter planes.
“It may look like a coincidence that birds and humans are travelling to same destinations at the same time, but looking at the geographical conditions at both the ends it becomes clear why both the species are behaving in same manner. Of course it is harsh winter that forces them to look for some sunny location and probably to most of them Oman proves to be the best location,” said Khalid while giving reason for the birds to come to Oman.
“Winter is the time when whole of Europe becomes very cold. It creates a situation for the birds to travel to East African countries and South of Oman,” he said.
The Taqah Volunteers are planning to take this exhibition to other parts of the country as they started with first show in Salalah.
The inspiration behind this exhibition was Nasser al Kindi, who is a wildlife photographer and recipient of Sultan Qaboos Award for Voluntary Work in 2012. His book titled ‘Birds in Oman’ has extensive details about the native and migratory birds, their migratory behaviour and much finer information about them.
Oman, according to Al Kindi, is situated at the migration of three main regions as well as on the routes followed by numerous different species of seabirds.
“The Oman Bird List has recorded sightings of 522 bird species (as of May 2015); these belong to 76 of the 231 families that are extinct — some of them are endemic to Oman and GCC region and constitute five per cent of the total number of species that are to be found worldwide,” he said.
The importance that Oman holds for birds is proven from the fact that “it attracts migratory birds from Asia (the Indian-Malayan region) to Africa where they spend the winter, as well as migrants from Asia to Southern parts of Oman.
“The Sultanate is also a destination for old world birds coming from Europe to the stony plains in the Eastern Governorate of the South Sharqiyah and the southern end of Al Wusta Governorate,” said Al Kindi in the foreword of his book.