Tuesday, August 2, 2011

I'm not alone.

I'm not as unique as I may have thought. That doesn't sound like a compliment but in the case of birding, I'm glad I'm not. I've made acquaintances all over the world while doing Punk Rock Big Year. A teenaged metalhead birder, a guy that used to see Black Flag shows until 4am and be birding by 6am, other folks with bird tats, a school teacher that was into the UK punk scene back in the day that equates birding with punk ideals. I haven't met many of them except online but I'd love to go birding with some of them if they ever come here or I ever end up in their area. Turns out I was right, there's punk or punk-ish birders everywhere. One Brit I've met has no bird tattoos, yet. But if we are willing to donate some cash to an environmental charity, he'll cover his entire arm with bird tats. Donate for the birds or just to see him squirm (he's afraid of needles).

I'd like to share a great idea that I came across by way of one of you. Somebody put me on to his site a while back. His idea is simple. If he can raise 10,000 British pounds, he'll give his right arm. He isn't going to lop it off, he's going to get a tattoo of the ten most iconic birds of Turkey, covering his entire right arm. His name is Tristan Reid and this is his idea (in his own words).

Note: All images supplied by Tristan Reid.


I guess I’ll start this post by introducing myself! My name is Tristan Reid and I am a UK birder, my obsession is birding! Exciting eh? So what does an overweight almost middle-aged father of four have in common with the cooler than cool Punk Rock Birder? Tattoos of course!
Well, to be completely honest I don’t have any tattoos presently and I have a fear of needles! However this situation is all going to change soon (all except perhaps my fear of needles)! I will be having a full sleeve and shoulder tattoo on my right arm that will feature a design that will include, Northern Bald Ibis, White-throated Robin, Wallcreeper, Caspian Snowcock, Pallid Scops Owl, White-breasted Kingfisher, Masked Shrike, Black Francolin, Spur-winged Plover and Rüppell’s Warbler.




Why these species and why the massive piece of body art? These ten species were voted for by regular readers of my blog (www.binocularface.co.uk) as their top ten iconic birds of Turkey. Turkey is country that has really stolen my heart; a recent trip to this amazing country saw me well and truly hooked! The amazing birdlife, immense scenery at superbly beautiful people all played a part in this country having a massive impact on my life!
On my return home I was saddened to learn that the Turkish government had sold off all its water ways to private companies and there are a planned 1,740+ Hydro Electric Power Plants planned and a further 2000 dams in construction. This will have a disastrous impact on the countries globally significant biodiversity and it is estimated that over 2,000,000 villagers will be forced to migrate. 




This situation is unacceptable on both humanitarian and conservation terms. Suffice to say, I knew I had to do something to help stop this destruction. After all aside from the humanitarian issues, Turkey is home to 30% of the global population of the Critically Endangered Northern Bald Ibis, 25% of the European breeding population of the Endangered White-headed Duck, more than 10% of the global population of the Endangered Egyptian Vulture, more than 30% of the global population of European Rollers, more than 70% of the global population of the near Turkish endemic and Near Threatened Krueper’s Nuthatch and more than 90% of the global population of the Cinereous Bunting. Additionally Turkey holds five endemic mammals (mountains here still apparently hold the Anatolian or Asia Minor Leopard Panthera pardus tulliana), has 52 endemic freshwater fish, 13 endemic reptiles, 30.6 Turkish plant species are endemic to Turkey and the nearby Aegean Islands.




I had a mission on my hands to help raise funds for Birdlife Internationals partner in Turkey (Doğa Derneği) and to raise awareness about the proposed developments. Given that I have always been a fan of bodyart I had a plan! The main reason I had never had a tattoo before (besides fear) was because I wanted to get something that really meant something. I have now got my cause and reason! So the plan was hatched; after running the poll on my website, the selected species would feature in a commissioned piece of artwork (currently being designed) and the last stage is for the artwork to be tattooed onto my right arm and shoulder (all costs will be paid by me allowing all donations raised to go directly to where they are needed). So the title of my fundraising campaign seemed fairly obvious ‘Giving my right arm to help protect Turkey’s biodiversity’!




You can find out more information about this here:
http://www.binocularface.co.uk/2011/07/10/the-ten-species-to-feature-in-the-art-work-are
and keep up to date with my campaign by following me on twitter @givemyrightarm




You can also donate here:
http://www.justgiving.com/givingmyrightarm
Big thanks to Paul for allowing me to post this to his blog. Check out my blog  as rumour has it that your very own Punk Rock Birder will be featuring there very soon!


I hope you enjoyed reading about Tristan. And if everyone that visited this blog last month donated just 5 British pounds (about $10CDN), we'd raise nearly 7000 pounds. (I don't know how to make the pound symbol on my keyboard).


Punk Rock Big Year
Paul Riss

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