It’s that time of year when binoculars, notepads and phones are out and area birdwatchers are on high alert for the annual four-day bird count. From January 14-17, the Tamil Birders’ Network (TBN) and Bird Count India (BCI) will jointly undertake the bird species identification exercise in Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry.
Birders will document bird species and count their numbers for at least 15 minutes each day and upload sightings to www. electronic bird. org/india. Entrants are free to choose any site of their interest for counting. The site may be near a pond or lake.
It can even be from their balcony or terrace. Out of nearly 525 species recorded in the Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry region, 356 species were reported during the Pongal Bird Count in 2021. Last year, 340 birdwatchers from all over Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry participated in the count. Most of the locations were recorded in Coimbatore, Tirupur and Salem. The common myna was the most sighted resident bird appearing in 59.
7% of all checklists, followed by the Common Crow (56.7%) and Rose-ringed Parakeet (47.2%). The most common migrant appearing in 28.1% of checklists was barn swallow, followed by Blyth’s warbler (21.2%) and blue-tailed bee-eater (19.3%). TBN Coordinator for Puducherry and Villupuram Surendhar Boobalan said various reference materials are available on how to prepare checklists of birds on ebird. org, as well as an illustrated online guide to some common birds of Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry, with an introduction to birds and birdwatching.
“The event is part of a global effort to document birds around the world and make birdwatching popular and scientific. Research shows that watching and admiring nature can make us feel better emotionally and help to our physical well-being.
The seasonality, presence and distribution of even common birds around us are hardly known. Therefore, bird identification, counting and reporting on citizen science platforms such as e-Bird India portal can help to better understand our birds which can lead to their conservation,” Surendhar said. Pongal Bird Count, which started in 2015 with 115 participants, attracted 180 participants in 2016 and grew to 340 in 2021. For more details, visit https://birdcount. in/event/pongal-bird-count-2022/.
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