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Gurgaon: Second Summer Bird Count records 34% rise in species

gurgaon Updated: May 17, 2017 23:37 IST
Ipsita Pati
Ipsita Pati
Hindustan Times
summer bird count,Global Big Day,Endemic Bird Day

The Indian Golden Oriole was among the 201 species of birds spotted during the second ‘Delhi Summer Bird Count. A total of 15 teams from Delhi-NCR took part in the event.(Shellender Singh Rao)

The second ‘Delhi Summer Bird Count’ held on Sunday recorded an increase of 34% in the species counted. Bird lovers spotted over 201 species in Delhi-NCR as compared to 150 last year.

The bird count was organised for an insight into the distribution pattern of resident and endemic birds and understand their breeding and movement pattern.

“This initiative was aimed at making an assessment of resident and endemic birds of our region and gain an understanding of their distribution. We also obtained important data about various sites that are vital for breeding birds in Delhi-NCR. All teams and observers made entries of their sightings and records in eBird, which is an online database of bird observations providing scientists, researchers and amateur naturalists with real-time data about bird distribution and their abundance,” Pankaj Gupta, a member of Delhi Bird Group, said.

The initiative was taken up by bird enthusiasts with a view to getting information about resident birds. There is not enough data on endemic birds as most such events and bird counts are held in winter when the total bird species in the region is higher due to the arrival of migratory birds.

As the day also coincides with ‘Endemic Bird Day’ and ‘Global Big Day’, the event also highlighted the need for conservation and saving endemic species. The bird count started at 5am and continued till sundown.

A total of 15 teams from Delhi-NCR took part in the event. The participants sighted several species of birds in Mangar, Aravalli Biodiversity Park, Basai, Najafgarh, Bhindawas, Dighal (Jhajjar) and Sonipat in Haryana, parts of Delhi including Asola, JNU, Delhi Cantonment and several areas of Uttar Pradesh — Okhla, Surajpur, River Yamuna and Dhaurai.

About 445 species of birds in total have been recorded in the Delhi region over the last 20 years. Of these, over 201 species were recorded by participants in summer bird count held last Saturday, ornithologists associated with the counting effort said.

The teams also covered the Yamuna and its floodplains, right from the point of entry of the river to Delhi till it’s passage to UP, near the Okhla barrage .

Sunil Kumar, who led the team that tracked birds around the Yamuna floodplains, reported 118 species of fowls. “Among the important species spotted in reed beds of the flood plains and the sand dunes were White-tailed Stonechat, Striated Grassbird, Straited Babbler, Bengal Bushlark, Red-necked Falcon, Small Pratincoles among others.”

One of the teams spotted Laggar Falcon that made an appearance in Delhi-NCR after a long time. A pair, has, of late, been sighted at Surajpur near Greater Noida.

Another member of the Noida bird counting team, Jaswinder Waraich who led the Okhla team, said, “We were lucky to spot Grey Plover, a winter visitor to seashores in India, but a highly rare bird inland. The species is mentioned in just three bird counts in Delhi over the last 20 years.”

The team members said the region has a dense diversity of birds and there is a need to conserve them.

“We witnessed over 100 resident species. Despite urban development, this is a positive insight emerging from the summer bird count as the resident birdlife in the area is encouraging,” Chinmoy Banerjee, a member of Delhi Bird group, said.

Also, 15 resident species, considered rare for the region, were also spotted by various observers. These include White-bellied Minivet, Marshall’s Lora, Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher, White-bellied Drongo, Crested Bunting Sandgrouse, Painted Sandgrouse, Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse, Oriental Pratincoles, Red-necked Falcon, Little Tern, Indian Courser, White-tailed Stonechat and Red-necked Falcon. Most of these species are found in the ridge forest, thus highlighting the importance of conserving bird habitats.

“Over 165 resident species that were spotted, 35 are endemic as they are not found in any other country. Another 36 species that are winter or passage migrants were also sighted in the region,” Abhishek Gulsan, member, WFF-India, said.

First Published: May 17, 2017 23:37 IST