Overseas winged guests arrived in less number as compared to the last year in India. The Bird Count Index (BCI) was “low” this (season) year with 247 different species against 268 in 2017 due to adverse weather condition and low visibility. According to the data shared by ornithologists (Pan India) 2017 recorded highest numbers (268) of migratory birds.
However, there is still good news for the ornithologists as Hume’s Short Toed, Syke’s Lark (Flats), Greater White Fronted Goose, Cinnamon Bittern, Painted Sandgrouse (Asola), Pacific Golden Plover, Tri Coloured Munia, Black Throated Thrush, Variable Wheatear, Curlew, Red Headed Bunting, Short Eared Owl (Khadar at North Delhi), Black-Headed Cuckooshrike (Mangaar Baani) Brown Shrike (Sultanpur), Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher (Mangaar), Dove, Orphean Warbler (Dhigal), Mallard 9 and Water Rail, Bengal Bushlark (Dhanauri), Jungle Prinia (Vasant Vihar Aravali), Verditer Flycatcher (Garhimandu), all special migratory species were sighted in different places across the country.
Of all the migratory birds, “Blue Rock Pigeon” was among the most abundant species seen all over the country.
Dr Faiyaz A Khudsar, ornithologist, and professor in Delhi University, Environmental Department, said, “There is no drastic change in number. The count is low mainly due to local climate conditions, “Smog, pollution and forest cover, these are the factors pivotal during bird watching/ bird count,” said Dr Khudsar, adding, “The number seems to be underestimated due to heavy smog which led to little poor visibility as well as sighting of birds.”
According to Nikhil Daveskar, founder of Delhi Bird and organiser of the event, in National Capital Region (NCR), the highest number of species spotted at Dighal in Haryana, followed by Sultanpur outskirts and Sungerpur in northwest Delhi.
Around 35 teams comprising 4,000-5,000 individuals including birders, forest guards and school students attended the event. “Such was the enthusiasm and dedication that one of the teams walked for at least 19 km that day for the count,” said Daveskar.
In overall annual bird count, Rock Pigeon 610, Plum-Headed Parakeet 556, Northern Shoveler 508, Eurasian Coot 501, Gadwall 405, Green-Winged Teal 405, Northern Pintail 355, House Sparrow 352, House Crow 341 and Eurasian Moorhen 324 were registered.
The Big Bird Day is an annual affair of bird watching and counting. The event was started by Delhi Bird in 2004.
It may be recalled that in 2013, the Big Bird Day was organised on a pan-India level with over 160 teams comprising over 1,000 birders. In 2017, six international teams, including from Singapore and Dubai, participated in the Big Bird Day. According to the data, at least 359 bird species were recorded from across India this time, with the teams from Hyderabad spotting the maximum number.
Delhi Development Authority biodiversity parks also participated in the bird count, so was the Yamuna Biodiversity Park phase I and Phase II. Long-Legged Buzzard, Taiga Flycatcher, Lesser Flameback, Red-Throated Flycatcher, Barn owl, Sirkeer Malkoha were sighted.
Tuesday, 12 February 2019 | Sapna Singh | New Delhi
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