In order to co-ordinate and effectively implement our conservation efforts, we launched the Rockjumper Bird Conservation Fund (RBCF) in 2006. We are either solely responsible for a project’s funding or contribute to larger, more ambitious ventures.
Our current Rockjumper Bird Conservation Fund projects and contributions are particularly exciting and are spread across the globe.
A minimum of US$50 from each Rockjumper tour sign-up goes directly into the RBCF. This does not increase the cost of our tours as these projects incur no extra administrative expenses; therefore, the sponsoring of the various conservation projects we endeavour to support, does not make our tours more expensive. Ultimately, just by signing up, you are ensured that your contribution goes directly to bird conservation!
Our ultimate goal is to support bird conservation in multi-faceted ways. By means of carefully managing our available funds, we are able to support numerous bird conservation efforts and activities, including the sponsoring of bird monitoring and research work, hands-on bird conservation (which entails efforts such as captive breeding projects for endangered birds), and habitat protection.
We are also actively involved in raising the awareness and knowledge of birdlife, by encouraging local communities to value their birds, by promoting the need for increased awareness and also training enthusiastic community members to become bird guides.
As part of our commitment to helping this special bird, we have launched the Kruger Birds & Wildlife Challenge to support BirdLife South Africa’s conservation activities for the species. This unique and fun challenge provides the opportunity to explore the world-famous Kruger National Park in north-eastern South Africa, from its remote north to its vast south. Participants will not only get to experience amazing birding and wildlife viewing, but will also be assisting in saving a special bird from imminent extinction. All proceeds raised will go directly to BirdLife South Africa for vital research and conservation work to protect one of Africa’s, and indeed the world’s, most endangered and little-known species – the White-winged Flufftail. Rockjumper Birding Tours has volunteered its resources and expertise to arrange and coordinate this event and will not be benefitting financially from it.
Our very own Adam Riley represented the African Bird Club for 2018’s British Bird Brain – a prestigious quiz that puts the knowledge of four birding experts to the test.
Not only are we proud to announce that Adam was crowned the winner, but even more pleased that we were able to donate a further GBP1,000 to the African Bird Club’s ongoing conservation work.
Dear Adam, Thank you for your generous gift of $2,500 to Mass Audubon. As requested, your gift has been designated to support the Birders Meeting. We are very grateful for the steadfast support from Rockjumper and are delighted to have you again as a lead sponsor!
Rockjumper have long been Corporate Sponsors of the Ornithological Society of the Middle East, the Caucasus and Central Asia, and we are delighted to have donated £1,000 to ensure the success of their free Middle East bird app project. We feel that even if one person could be channelled away from extremism to birding as a result of this birding app which will be freely available and widely distributed throughout the Middle East, then our donation would have paid off enormously!
Rockjumper Birding Tours is delighted to support the African Bird Club (ABC) in its development of Birds of Mauritius and future birding Apps. Birds of Mauritius is a free App which can be downloaded from the Play Store and iStore. The App is intended for anyone interested in birds, including casual observers, students, field and research workers, birders and ornithologists. It supports the ABC’s main aims of conservation, communication and education relating to Africa’s birds.
Avid readers of our newsletters may remember Nomusa Mkhungo from the Women’s Leadership Training Programme (WLTP). Rockjumper had the opportunity to support Nomusa on her way to the International Hornbill Conference in Malaysia last year, where she delivered a presentation on her work in community development and Hornbill conservation.
What a privilege to sponsor an organisation in our own backyard! The ladies from the Midlands Rose Society have done a fabulous job at beautifying the estate in which our South African offices are found with their rose garden. It certainly adds to the atmosphere and we are glad to have been part of it.
The Wakkerstroom Southern Bald Ibis Project has been in place for the last 20 years. Groups of volunteers monitor all the breeding colonies of these stunning and range restricted birds (classified as Vulnerable by IUCN) around Wakkerstroom in eastern South Africa. Each colony is visited 5 or 6 times over their three-month nesting period. Rockjumper has for the past seven years covered fuel and other costs of these dedicated volunteers, and the project would have folded if it hadn’t been for our support.
When I was introduced to the colonies, we went to look at them in late July or early August as they are/were late-winter breeders. However, for whatever reason, the breeding started later and later each season, with us still visiting colonies in early November. Then last season, when we made our first visits to the colonies in mid to late August, most colonies were already nesting or even had tiny chicks, very much in line with the earlier years. It was a very successful breeding season at all colonies, even though the previous summer had been very average in terms of rainfall.
This year, in early September, there was not a bird in sight at any colony visited; however, the past few weeks have revealed birds on nests and others building, so things have got going – at last! This means that chicks will only be fledging around November.
So now we wait and see what this breeding season will bring for the Southern Bald Ibises.
All the monitors are eternally grateful to Rockjumper Birding Tours for the donation we have received for the past number of years, which at least pays for the fuel used – the colony in Vryheid is a round trip of 220 km and Kalkoenkrans is 170 km round trip, so it is a very big help – thank you so much.
These improvements may be in the form of loop systems, tap rails, ramps, movable benches of different heights in hides, and viewing slots with downward opening covers at different heights, etc. Such facilities are still very few and far between, which is why ‘Birding For All’ will continue to try and make a difference.
It is their firm belief that if reserves are open to the public, then they must be open to all, regardless of anyone’s level of mobility. Half of Birding For All’s members have disabilities and half do not, a proud reminder that all are welcome and that it is only by an alliance of disabled and able-bodied people that change will happen. Please join us – Membership is FREE for all.
These improvements will result in better access for everyone, not just for those who need it, since nothing which enhances access for people with mobility issues in any way detracts from able-bodied provision. Of course, it goes without saying that Birding For All values the wildlife and habitats they desire access to, and would never compromise their conservation to create such facilities.
Birding For All are open to news, ideas or reports on reserves in your area and beyond. Assessing your local reserve while out birding is easy with the form they provide. All you need is a notebook, your camera/phone and a tape measure. For further information on joining or sending through news, ideas or reports on reserves, visit their website.