From city to countryside: Great Backyard Bird Count shows birds thriving in diverse habitats

Indian birdwatchers record over 46,000 checklists, 1,067 bird species on online platform

GN Bureau | February 25, 2023


#environment   #nature   #Birds   #biodiversity  
Small pratincole (Photo: Ramesh Desai, courtesy Bird Count India)
Small pratincole (Photo: Ramesh Desai, courtesy Bird Count India)

The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) is an annual event that brings bird enthusiasts, students, and nature enthusiasts together to watch and count birds they see around the places where they live, work or study.  It is a free, fun and easy event that anyone can participate in. This year's event was celebrated from 17th to 20th February. For Indian birdwatchers, it was the 11th year of participation in the GBBC.

The 2023 edition of the event saw India emerge second among 190 participating countries. Over the four days of GBBC, Indian birdwatchers uploaded over 46,000 checklists and 1,067 bird species to eBird, an online platform to record bird observations.

Birders from 35 states and union territories participated in the GBBC. While Kerala recorded the highest number of checklists (9,786 lists), West Bengal reported the highest number of species (489 bird species). Kudos to birders from Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Nagaland, Bihar, Jharkhand, and Manipur for their enthusiastic participation in this year's GBBC. (Click here for preliminary report to know more)

“Birdwatchers of Bihar have worked hard together to make GBBBC a success, and the results show: more species and checklists have been recorded this year compared to the previous year, and it's safe to say that this event has stoked their passion for birds,” Rahul Kumar, naturalist and birdwatcher from Bihar, said in a statement. "Bihar’s diverse habitats are home to some of India’s most beautiful and fascinating bird species, and it's heartening to see so many people taking an active interest in their bird documentation."

The event was significant as it fascinated students to learn more about the birds and to take initiative to observe them,” said Vaishnavi Padigala, second year environmental science undergraduate from Fergusson College. She added, “Personally the one thing that I most enjoyed was trying to identify calls, this experience was truly fun and pleasing to my ears”.

Events like GBBC provide impetus to civil society to study bird populations, distribution, and migration patterns as well as their local status. The data contributed by citizen scientists are also used by scientists and conservationists to better understand and protect bird species. India's strong participation in the event reflects the growing interest in birdwatching and conservation in the country, and highlights the rich biodiversity of the Indian subcontinent.

About the Great Backyard Bird Count
The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) is an annual citizen science event that engages bird enthusiasts of all skill levels in counting birds and contributing to bird conservation. The event is typically held over a four-day period in February, and participants can count birds in any location, from their own backyards to local parks and nature reserves.

It was first launched in 1998 as a way to gather information on bird populations and distribution. Since then, it has grown into a global event, with participants from over 100 countries counting millions of birds. Participants in the GBBC are asked to watch and count birds for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the event and report their observations online. It is designed to be a fun and accessible way for people to get involved in birdwatching and bird documentation. The results generated from this event also provide important data on bird populations that can help inform conservation efforts. In India, the GBBC is organised by Bird Count India.

About Bird Count India
Bird Count India is a consortium of organisations and groups working together to increase our collective knowledge about bird distributions and populations. The partnership conducts periodic bird-related events and activities, offers support and resources to birding groups for conducting their own events, and provides information on bird monitoring. Read about us at www.birdcount.in.

 

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