City parks and forests play vital roles in urban communities, they are actually a haven for wildlife that residents can also witness. Now, it may seem unlikely, but one can in fact experience bird watching in Jakarta. One Indonesian birdwatcher and wildlife photographer, Ady Kristanto, has taken to the city’s green zones to spot the colourful birds that we share our urban environment with.
In inviting others to join him, Ady says that bird watching has been great excuse for people to venture into Jakarta’s urban forests — many were unaware that the city had any! Other than the obvious benefits that walking around greenery has on an individual (mental health, exercise), bird watching has helped in ecosystem preservation, education and research, building communities, increasing tourism and the local economy. Add to this a general appreciation for nature, of course.
Ady outlines the benefits as the following
Birds have an important role in maintaining the balance of the ecosystem. They help in the process of plant pollination and pest control. By observing birds, we can monitor the presence of bird species in city parks and forests and be aware of changes that may occur in bird populations. This helps in species conservation and ecosystem preservation efforts.
Education and Research
Bird watching in city parks and forests can also be a source of information and knowledge about biodiversity. This activity allows us to learn more about bird behaviour, habitat, and migration patterns. The research that results from these observations will be of great use to scientists, conservationists and governments in efforts to protect and preserve bird species.
Mental and Physical Health
Bird watching in city parks and forests provides opportunities for physical activity, such as walking or cycling. In addition, this activity also provides a relaxing and calming effect on the mind. Bird watching can help reduce stress and improve mood.
Bird watching also helps build a community that cares about the environment and biodiversity. This activity attracts the attention of the public to appreciate and preserve nature more, as well as being a gathering place for bird watchers.
Improving Tourism and Local Economy
The diversity of bird species in parks and urban forests can attract tourists and bird watchers, both local and international. This has a positive impact on the development of tourism and the local economy.
Although a city of skyscrapers, a concrete jungle in many respects, Jakarta is indeed anideal place for bird watching activity. There are 256 species of birds, 40 percent of which are water birds and 60 percent terrestrial birds. This diversity of species allows means observers will have plenty to look for as they head out for their bird watching experience.
People usually go to Muara Angke Wildlife Reserve, north Jakarta, or Rambut Island in the Thousand Islands — these provide the best immersions into nature. But, now there are more city parks and forests that can be found within the vicinity of the city, allowing for easier access.
Here are five city parks and forests that you can go bird watching in Jakarta:
National Monument (Monas) Park, Central Jakarta
This green open space in Monas Park covering an area of 65.4 hectares has a variety of trees and is a strategic location as a bird corridor. Among the trees, birds can be seen flying throughout the area. There are common birds, such as spotted doves (Streptopelia chinensis) and finches (Pycnonotus aurigaster), but you’ll also be able to spot the Coppersmith barbet, and Woodpecker.
Langsat Park, South Jakarta
One of the “lungs” of the city, not far from Jalan Barito. The area reaches 3,6 hectares and is close to Barito Bird Market (not a recommended destination). Like an oasis in the middle of the city, this park is able to present the complete beauty of an artificial lake. Moreover, there is a flowing river that can be seen dividing the park. Both Coppersmith barbet and Woodpecker stop by in this park often.
Kemayoran Urban Forest, between Central and North Jakarta
The Kemayoran city forest (Utan Kemayoran), with an area of 22.3 hectares, has contributed to the cooler, greener, more comfortable atmosphere in Kemayaron. The area carries the theme Three Wonderful Journeys with designations for conservation, recreation and education. This area has 50 species of trees and 40 species of birds. Around January, the urban forest is also visited by migratory birds from other areas.
Cattleya Park, West Jakarta
As well-known as Tomang Park or Kampung Sawah Park, this area of around 31,945 square meters is home to1,012 trees that provide a shady atmosphere. Here, you can meet the Scaly breasted munia, yellow vented nightingale and birds from the sparrow family.
Menteng Park, Central Jakarta
This 2.9 hectare park was formerly a Menteng Stadium. The park collects 30 different plant species and various supporting facilities, such as a playground and futsal and basketball courts. This park has 44 infiltration wells to help absorb rainwater into the ground. With that number of plant species, a variety of birds perch in this park, among them are the Freckle breasted woodpecker, spotted dove, and coppersmith barbet.