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NParks Heron Watch

Do you enjoy bird watching? Would you like to learn about our herons, egrets, bitterns and contribute to a citizen science study? Join us for the Heron Watch, as part of the NParks Community in Nature Biodiversity Watch series, to help us to learn more about these charismatic birds!

 

Heron Watch will take place between 28 January (Sat) to 5 February (Sun) 2023.

Sign up here: https://go.gov.sg/hwjan2023reg 

Registration closes on 8 January 2023.

 

Do take note that Heron Watch January 2023 will be open to experienced volunteers only. Experienced volunteers are defined as those who have participated fully in any previous Heron Watches (surveyed and submitted result.)

 

Learn more about our herons, egrets and bitterns through our interactive e-learning module, accessible via Chrome, Apple Safari, Mozilla Firefox on desktops or laptops.

 

 

What is the Heron Watch all about?

Heron Watch is a citizen science initiative by NParks to get Singaporeans involved in collecting valuable information about the herons, egrets and bitterns across Singapore.

With the data collected from many survey transects across various areas in Singapore, we can start piecing together information about where these birds are found and in what numbers! This information will contribute towards better park management and conservation measures.

 

Results from January 2021 Heron Watch

 

 

 

Results from past Heron Watch surveys

 Migratory Non-migratory 
 Jan 2020 Jul 2020
 Jan 2019 Jul 2019
 Jan 2018 Jul 2018
 

 

How can I participate?

Anyone aged 12 and above can sign up and volunteer with us.

A training session on bird identification and survey techniques will be organised for beginners. You will be assigned a survey site closer to the date of the survey.

For Heron Watch in January 2023, there will not be training sessions conducted as it is opened for experienced volunteers only. 

 

What happens after I have signed up?

  1. We will email you the details to confirm your sign up.
  2. You may view theory training video that will be sent to you after your registration is confirmed. The theory training video is about 2 hours long. The video covers basic survey and bird-watching techniques and you will also learn how to identify the 19 species for Heron Watch. 
  3. Few days before the Heron Watch, we will send you information about your designated site and transect locations for your survey.
  4. Head down to your site on any morning (from 7am to 10am) or afternoon (from 3pm to 6pm) during the survey period and conduct the surveys at your designated transects.
  5. Send the results of your survey to through the Form.gov.sg (preferred option for this round).
  6. You can also send us a scanned copy of your datasheet to CIN@NParks.gov.sg with the email subject “[Heron Watch Jan 2023] Results”. 

 

If you have any questions, please email us at CIN@NParks.gov.sg with “[Heron Watch Jan 2023]" in the email subject. 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

1.       I don’t have any bird-watching experience. Can I still participate?

Yes! You may still participate by signing up for the mandatory training sessions. The training sessions are targeted at people who are totally new to our native birds. These sessions are on a registration basis, and details will be shared with registered volunteers.

 For Heron Watch in January 2023, there will not be training sessions conducted as it is opened for experienced volunteers only. 

 

2.       Do I need any special equipment?

The survey was designed to accommodate surveyors without any binoculars. All you need is a datasheet and a pen, or a smart-phone with the SGBioAtlas app.

For Heron Watch in January 2023, we will be using Form.gov.sg as the result submission platform.

 

3.       Is it compulsory for me to attend the training workshops?

You will be required to attend the training session if you are a beginner volunteer or entirely new to Heron Watch. The training sessions will also teach you how to do a transect survey and give relevant instructions for Heron Watch.

It is not compulsory for returning volunteers to attend the training. However, you may wish to attend the training workshop as a refresher. 

 There will not be training sessions conducted for Heron Watch January 2023 as it is opened for experienced volunteers only. A theory training video will be provided for volunteers upon confirmed registration for self-revision.

 

4.       What are the common species that you will be covering in the training? Would I still need to attend the training if I can identify them?

The 19 species are:

Herons

Egrets

Bitterns

Grey Heron

Pacific Reef Heron

Yellow Bittern

Black-crowned Night Heron

Eastern Cattle Egret

Cinnamon Bittern

Purple Heron

Great Egret

Von Schrenck's Bittern

Great-billed Heron

Intermediate Egret

Black Bittern

Striated Heron

Little Egret

 

Chinese Pond Heron

Chinese Egret

 

Javan Pond Heron

 

 

Indian Pond Heron

 

 

Malayan Night Heron

 

 

 

Even if you can identify these species easily, do join us if you are unfamiliar with the survey technique. Expert bird-watchers who are familiar with the techniques and are confident of conducting the counts independently with minimal instructions can opt out of the training.

 

5.       When and where are training sessions?

For this round of Heron Watch, there will be no training sessions as it is opened for experienced volunteers only. A theory training video will be provided for self-learning for volunteers upon confirmed registration.

  

6.       Will this Heron Watch be very time consuming?

The training sessions will take approximately two hours for the theory component and one hour for the practical component (not applicable for January 2023 round). The Heron Watch itself will only take one morning (from 7am to 10am) or afternoon (from 3pm to 6pm) during the survey period. If you volunteer to survey at more than one site, you may be required to conduct more than one survey within the stipulated week.

 

7.       How will the data I collect help in NParks' park management and conservation efforts?

The data on the heron, egrets and bittern species and their distribution collected during the Heron Watch will help establish a baseline from which we can monitor the patterns in these bird populations in Singapore. With the counts held bi-annually, we can track changes over time and develop management strategies to sustain or even enhance these populations.

 

8.       Can my school/company/community group participate in this event together?

 Do note that this round of Heron Watch is opened to experienced volunteers only and large groups registration is not available for this round. Please contact us at CIN@nparks.gov.sg for more information.

 

 

Last updated on 13 December 2022

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