A small painful sacrifice…

…for a great cause

I asked Tristan Reid to talk about his love for Turkey and his fantastic campaign. I found his plan to tattoo his arms, a simple, attention grabbing and innovative idea. Enjoy the read and the photos and act on the words:

Giving my right (& left) arm to help save Turkey’s biodiversity!

Earlier this year I had a fantastic birding trip to Southern and Central Turkey with a group of very good friends! This country completely an utterly took my breath away! Firstly the people of Turkey (particularly those found in the small villages in the remoter areas) were so friendly and welcoming; always interested in what we were doing. The scenery; particularly in the mountainous regions can be described as nothing short of epic! Any UK birder with an interest in birding abroad will already be aware of the fantastic range of birds Turkey has to offer. However on visiting Turkey, this aspect of the trip far exceeded all of our expectations! Suffice to say I have fallen in love with Turkey; utterly and completely!

Caspian Snowcock © Soner Bekir - One of the most enigmatic species found in Turkey!

Lilith's Owl © Tristan Reid - Perhaps a good split from Little Owl and equally as delightful!

Black Francolin © Rudi Debruyne - Certainly the maddest call of any bird in Turkey; and incredibly memorable!

Pallid Scops Owl © Pieter van Veelen - Turkey is still one of the few places to see this bird within the WP!

Rüppell's Warbler © Tristan Reid - Simply stunning!

White-throated Robin - Superb birds to see in one of the few countries this species occurs in the WP (and no ladders required)!

On my return I had my elated sails knocked out of me when I spoke to hard working conservationist and podcast king; Charlie Moores; who promptly informed me of the disasterous situation in Turkey. To briefly summarise, the Turkish government has sold of pretty much all of the countries water ways to private companies. There is now almost 4,000 Hydro Electric Power Plants (HePP’s) and Dams planned (many already in construction). The Turkish government aims to be at maximum capacity by 2023!

These developments will have a disastrous effect on Turkey’s globally significant biodiversity. Species such as White-headed Duck, Marbled Duck, Northern Bald Ibis, and  Cinereous Bunting are just a small number of species that are severely under threat. It is also estimated that around 2 million villagers will be forced to migrate as a result of the construction and development of HePP’s and dams.

More information on this situation can be found on the following links:

This news devastated me! However I knew that I had to do something that would both raise funds to help support the work that Doğa Derneği are doing (Birdlife Internationals partner in Turkey) and to raise awareness of the situation.

So the obvious choice was to run a poll on my website to let readers choose the top twenty iconic species of Turkey. Then commission and artist to design a piece of artwork featuring the top ten (this will be sold off to raise funds for the cause after the project is complete). Then have this design tattooed onto my right arm and a design featuring the remaining ten species tattooed onto my left arm!

All costs relating to the tattoos will be paid for by myself, so ALL donations received will go directly to help protect Turkey’s biodiversity!

You can make a donation here:


You can also follow my progress via my website at http://www.binocularface.co.uk and via my twitter account @givemyrightarm

I have already made a start with the tattoos on my left arm; with Dead-sea Sparrow and Red-fronted Serin. This Saturday a third bird will be added!

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One Response to A small painful sacrifice…

  1. Chatterbirds says:

    Kudos to Tristan for this. The birding in Turkey looks incredible! Nice shot of that francolin too.

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