Technology to power Mumbai’s annual bird race

  • Snehal Rebello, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Jan 08, 2016 01:31 IST
Eurasian Golden Oriole or Golden Oriole, a migratory bird, was spotted in the city on Thursday. (Vidya Subramanian/HT)

Technology will be the hallmark at the annual bird race as Mumbaiites are set to have a date with the colourful winged creatures this Valentine’s Day.

In a departure from tradition, the annual Mumbai BirdRace on February 14 will completely do away with manual logbooks and use a mobile application to spot, hear and locate bird species across approximately seven locations in and around Mumbai.

Participants will have to download Chirp, an application developed by a Bangalore-based organisation, during registration.

“The bird race is both an indicator of the health of the environment as much as its deterioration. So it is a good tool for research on the city’s bird life,” said naturalist Sunjoy Monga, who conceptualised the bird race in 2005.

“While some may think that the bird race is a frivolous activity, I would like to say it is a serious effort to get birding enthusiasts together and we go to great lengths to ensure that the results are infallible. We would like birders to use their binoculars more than the cameras,” he added.

This year’s edition of the annual Mumbai BirdRace – the 12th so far - inspired by the Hong Kong Bird Race, will have 220 participants.

While some teams did use ‘chirp’ last year, organisers are trying to enforce their use this year. In fact, all bird races to be held across the country will make use of this application to record bird sightings.

“Once the sighting is recorded, the inbuilt GPS (Global Positioning System) will automatically upload the location of the bird. Birders must also capture the photograph if they spot rare birds and upload it on the app,” said Ravi Vaidyanathan, coordinator. He added that the use of technology makes the whole exercise error-free with no scope of duplication.

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