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Monday, Sep 16, 2019

Big Bird Day results: Delhi-NCR’s species count goes up compared to 2018

While birders spotted 247 species this year, the number was marginally lower in 2018, with 238 species across Delhi-NCR. At least 267 species were spotted in 2017.

delhi Updated: Feb 11, 2019 13:23 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
A group of bird watchers at Gurugram-Farrukhnagar road near Sultanpur Bird sanctuary, in Gurugram,  on Sunday, February 3, 2019.
A group of bird watchers at Gurugram-Farrukhnagar road near Sultanpur Bird sanctuary, in Gurugram, on Sunday, February 3, 2019. (Yogendra Kumar/HT Photo )
         

The results of the avian species count on Big Bird Day this year, held on February 3, were encouraging, with an increase in the number spotted, as compared to 2017, despite adverse weather conditions.

While birders spotted 247 species this year, the number was marginally lower in 2018, with 238 species across Delhi-NCR. At least 267 species were spotted in 2017.

“Some of the uncommon and most interesting sightings were of the greater white-fronted goose, pacific golden plover, brown shrike, orphean warbler, short-eared owl, cinnamon bittern and black-headed cuckoo shrike among others,” aid Nikhil Devasar, founder of Delhibird and organiser of the event, said.

The increased numbers are despite Delhi-NCR being engulfed in a dense fog and the fact that visibility was low in the early morning hours when the count began.

The fog, however, failed to dampen the zeal of bird lovers, who started identifying the birds from their calls, because of the poor visibility.

The Big Bird Day is an annual day-long event of bird watching and counting. It was started by Delhibird in 2004. In 2013, the Big Bird Day was organised on a pan-India level with over 160 teams comprising over 1,000 birders. In 2017, 6 international teams, including from Singapore and Dubai, participated in the Big Bird Day.

“At least 359 bird species were recorded from across India this time, with the teams from Hyderabad spotting the maximum number. The most abundant species seen across the country was the blue rock pigeon, followed by plum-headed parakeet, shoveler, coot, gadwall and teal, among others,” Devasar said

In NCR, the highest number of species were spotted at Dighal in Haryana, followed by Sultanpur outskirts and Sungerpur in northwest Delhi. At least 165 birds were spotted at Dighal.

This year, at least 35 teams comprising 4,000 – 5,000 individuals including birders, forest guards and school students attended the event.

This was also the first time that at least three of the teams were led by school students in the national capital region.

“Such was the enthusiasm and dedication that one of the teams walked for at least 19km that day for the count,” he added.

First Published: Feb 11, 2019 13:23 IST