He loves the vast expanse of the limitless bles and is fascinated by the countless kinds of birds that uninhibitedly spread their wings there and fly across thousands of miles. He loves each one of them, and rings them when they land on this Island. When he is not ringing those birds, he flies in the blue himself in his aircraft, being a pilot. Meet Colonel Abdullah Al Kaabi, Bahrain’s first licensed bird ringer who speaks to BTW about his passion, birds.
Tell us about yourself.
I am Colonel Abdullah Al Kaabi. I was born at Zallaq in Bahrain and raised in this country. I am a pilot and I had graduated from the UK.
How and when did you get into bird ringing?
Well my initiation into the world of birds dates back to 1985 when I started as a bird watcher. My interest in the subject led me to study and research a lot about birds. I studied in the UK about bird ringing and bird identification, and then in 2006 I started bird ringing.
What exactly is bird ringing?
Ringing involves catching the bird, putting metal rings with an identification number on them, so when the birds migrate to another continent the bird experts there can identify the ring number and know the bird’s history.
What is the season of migration of birds in Bahrain?
In Autumn, the migration starts from as early as September to the middle of November. In spring, it starts from March up to the middle of May. We have summer bird breed also as well as winter bird breed.
Which do you enjoy more—flying an aeroplane as a pilot or bird ringing?
I like both flying as a pilot and also ringing birds. I love the wild and the boundlessness of Nature and its equally delightful for me to watch birds in the sky and to sly across the limitless blue sky, myself.
What have been your challenges and how have you overcome them?
The challenge has been to ring in new species of birds. As you know we have been able to ring 170 types of species already but we need to ring in a lot more. O reach at least 300 species and many more birds. Until now we have 17,000 birds in Bahrain but we would like to cross that number.
What is the future of bird ringing in Bahrain?
I would say that the prospects of bird ringing in Bahrain is quite positive and going forward. Since 2006, there has been an increase in general awareness and knowledge about bird ringing. We currently have 170 bird species in Bahrain and we aspire to reach 300.
What kind of help and support do you require for this hobby?
We need a lot of help actually. A lot of man power to start with who can help in ringing the birds. Thankfully even my brothers are going to join me for bird ringing. I have to teach my brother and friends the art of bird ringing.
What is your message to the bird lovers of Bahrain?
I would urge every citizen in Bahrain to help keep these birds flying. We would like to see more gardens and more wild areas for the people to watch birds and getting entertained thereby. Also I appeal to the people of Bahrain to join me in bird ringing.