Love birds
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Love birds

Love birds
A great hornbill feeding a fig to its mate. Photo Courtesy of Hornbill Research Foundation

The day before Valentine’s Day is “Love Hornbill Day” and the annual celebration kicks off on Wednesday at the Hornbill Garden of Mahidol University’s Faculty of Science on Rama VI Road from 10am-7pm.

Thailand is home to 13 hornbill species, out of a total of 57 in the world. Hornbill conservation in the Kingdom started in 1978 as a self-funded project by Dr Pilai Poonswad, biologist and emeritus professor at the Microbiology Department of Mahidol University’s Faculty of Science. The project was expanded to become a foundation in 1993.

In 1997, the foundation organised the first Love Hornbill Day celebration. It chose Feb 13 because it is close to the day when people celebrate love and affection. Hornbills are regarded as a symbol of eternal love and fidelity, as they are monogamous and mate for life. The annual festival aims to educate the public about the bird, promote the foundation’s conservation projects and raise funds. The scope of activities covers the study of hornbills and their habitats in forests throughout the country, with a specific focus on Khao Yai National Park, Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary and Budo-Sungai Padi National Park.

Donations for hornbill conservation. Photo: Seksan Rojjanametakun

The event this year will feature a hornbill conservation exhibition and a fair offering a variety of games and products from participating foundations and organisations, as well as limited edition hornbill T-shirts.

There will be a forum on “Sharing Love To Hornbills” at 4.20pm. The speakers are Dr Pilai Poonswad; Niramol Methisuwakul, producer of Thung Saeng Tawan children’s programme; Chayapol Sornsil of Siam Winery, whose company has financed wildlife conservation projects; and Pimchai Duangnate of Six Senses Yao Noi Resort on Koh Yao Noi, where hornbills live in the wild.

At 5pm, it will be a time for a mini-concert featuring 25 Hours, Annop Srisajja or Pae Sinam and the Sincharoen Brothers.

There is no admission fee.

Call the Hornbill Research Foundation on 02-201-5532 or visit its Facebook fan page at for more details.

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