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HindustanTimes Mon,14 Jul 2014

Green population explosion

Bharati Chaturvedi, Hindustan Times   March 04, 2013
First Published: 01:21 IST(4/3/2013) | Last Updated: 01:22 IST(4/3/2013)

This is peak birding time in India. As migratory birds fly in on their way back to Central Asia and Europe, they make birding a more enriching experience.

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But who will see these birds? For several years, scientists and zoology students predominated birding, with some enthusiastic birders. But this year's annual Big Bird Day suggests things have changed.

For example, over 200 teams went out birding, from every single state in India, with the exception of Lakhwadeep.

Turns out, this single birding event in India was the biggest anywhere in the world. It was propelled by enthusiastic amateurs, growing in numbers.

In another case, for the last week, three unusual birds have been signed around noisy Delhi itself-the Marbled Duck, the Baikal Teal and the Long Billed Dowticher. How do we know all this?

Only because more people are watching birds, and there is more local expertise-often demonstrated as birding guides-which enables birders to see unusual treats.

In most cases, birders are not even able to access such habitats without local guides who identify and track birds. Such proliferating birders and bird guides bring in a new kind of green contribution to preserving our predominantly urban and per-urban wilderness, where much weekend birding takes place.

This offers hope for the wilderness, because people who care about them and visit, are likely raise an alert if these are despoiled.

An increasingly popular hobby amongst the middle classes is likely to result in an amplified voice for green patches, in ruthlessly expanding cities.


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