A Beautiful Bird
Mary: To start with, how long have you been working as an ornithologist?
Dominic: For eight years now, since 2000. Before that, I developed an interest in birds when Dr.Bennun
Mary: Bird watching seems to be a new concept in many African communities. What was the reaction of your parents when they discovered you had an interest in birding.
Dominic: At first, my parents were against it; they even made arrangements for me to study Veterinary sciences but I stood firm and refused. Somehow my dad started appreciating what I was doing.
Mary: Why is Ornithology important to the community?
Dominic: The study of birds has been popular for a long time. Currently, many people are generating their income from birds and related activities. Local communities have benefited from ecotourism in various places in
Mary: How does the African society perceive Ethno-Ornithology?
Dominic: Indigenous knowledge systems are vital for making sound decisions on natural resource utilization. In African tradition, birds had a special place. With Agikuyu, Augur Buzzard, Buteo augur was considered a lucky bird. If spotted; one knew that he would be lucky that day. On the other hand, some cultural beliefs against some birds like owls do exist. This accelerates their persecution. The hooting of an Owl is considered a bad omen that can result in death or crop failure in some communities. Generally, there is lack of enough research on Ethno-Ornitholology to document this important relationship.
Mary: What is happening to the birds’ habitats in
Mary: How many bird species are in
Mary: What is the economic importance of birds?
Dominic: Large numbers of tourists are now not focusing their attention to the ‘big five’ but on birds too. Following this, a lot of tour companies deal with bird tourism (Avi-tourism). This generates money for the people working in this industry and the local community where the activity is taking place.
Mary: Are there any endangered bird species in
Dominic: Yes. A good example is Sharpe’s Longclaw, Macronyx sharpei. This bird is only found in
Mary: Why do you think flamingoes are declining from
Mary: Apart from Ornithology, do you have other area of interest?
Dominic: I also spend time conducting environmental education in schools and local communities. I also do professional tour guiding within Rift Valley lakes in Kenya and
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