Embrace the birds | india | Hindustan Times
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Embrace the birds

You might know Delhi’s best shopping and dining hotspots, but do you know its amazing birdlife? Bharati Chaturvedi examines...

india Updated: Aug 26, 2011 14:00 IST

You might know Delhi’s best shopping and dining hotspots, but do you know its amazing birdlife? Despite the rapidly shrinking urban habitat of the city, this noisy, bustling, chaotic capital still provides over 200 species of birds with a home, if you can believe it. To celebrate this, March 14th, has been declared the Big Bird Day by Delhi’s well-knit Bird Club. It isn’t just a random choice, but based on the probability of seeing the maximum birds.

Firstly, most of the migrant birds are still here, preparing to leave. Secondly, many birds migrating back from South to North are likely to be around at this time. And of course, Delhi’s own resident birds are there, many breeding at this time. I also think that some of them may not be seen next year, after the infrastructure for the Games is complete and noise and traffic levels increase, and the number of trees in Delhi decline. The birders have decided to share their knowledge and planned out 5 diverse routes across Delhi and Haryana. Each will be led by an expert. Wake up extra early and see the greener corners of the Delhi region.

Email delhibirding@gmail.com for information.

Flip Side of Oil

We’re all struggling with the rise in oil prices, but here is a cost we know little about. Researchers Barregard and others suggest that living close to an oil refinery might increase the chances of leukaemia. Their research was not done at a poorly-run plant but at Lysekil in Sweden, one of Europe’s most modern refineries. They found that there the incidence of cancer was double the expected rate. Typically, regulatory agencies use real time data and modelling to determine what chemicals are safe at which concentration. If pollution increases, you might expect a higher incidence of the disease and vice versa. But now, this study has stumped everyone. The only two definite conclusions one can make is that chemicals do not behave as predicted and oil has a much more toxic life-cycle than we realised previously.