20October2019

Andaman Chronicle

The Daily Diary of the Islands

4-Day Global Great Backyard Bird Count to Begin from 13th Feb

ANET to be a Part of the Bird Count

Port Blair, Feb 11: Hundreds of birdwatchers from all over India will be looking for birds, recording what they see and putting the information online from 13th to 16th February. They will join over 100,000 other bird enthusiasts from all over the world in the global Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC), an annual four-day event open to everyone across the world.

In Andamans, the Andaman & Nicobar islands’ Environmental Team (ANET) is participating in this exciting endeavour. The team, involved in research, education, art and policy in the Islands, will be birding in Chidiyatapu, Wandoor, Sippighat and Mt. Harriet during the bird count.

ANET has also invited bird lovers, nature enthusiasts and others interested, to participate and help science understand a few more things about birds. In Andamans, you may have a chance to see many rare birds like the Andaman teal, the violet cuckoo, the Andaman black baza and 214 more. 

Indians have been participating in the GBBC since 2013. Last year, more than 1,000 birdwatchers recorded over 800 species—more species that any other country. The most frequently reported species overall were House Crow, Common Myna and Rock Pigeon. Rare species like the Baikal Teal and the Blue-naped Pitta were also seen during the count.

Thirteen-year-old Arya Vinod was one of the youngest participants in last year's GBBC. According to her "It was very exciting to be part of a global activity for birds. From my experience I can say that these events give a greater understanding and awareness of our precious natural heritage. My hope is that this will lead to conserving it so that future generations can enjoy it as much as we do."

In India, the GBBC is being coordinated by Bird Count India, an umbrella group of a large number of birding, nature and conservation organizations. "Events like these demonstrate the power of engaging citizens in learning about the natural world and monitoring how it is changing", said Dr VB Mathur, Director of the Wildlife Institute of India (a member of the Bird Count India partnership). "Over time, the information generated from the GBBC can be used to see whether some species are declining and others increasing. Therefore, this event needs to be supported by professionals as well as enthusiasts and society at large."

Birdwatchers are planning a number of local events accompanying the GBBC. Over 30 campuses across the country have signed up for the 'Campus Bird Count', as effort to document and describe the birds that make their home in educational and institutional campuses. Other groups have planned local bird walks for the public to spread interest and awareness. Dr Asad Rahmani, Director of BNHS-India (which is also a partner in Bird Count India) says, "The Great Backyard Bird Count is an exciting opportunity for all nature enthusiasts in the country to help document India's birds. Proper documentation is important for long-term conservation planning for birds."

Anyone is welcome to participate in the GBBC. The basic activity is to list all bird species seen in a particular location over at least 15 minutes and upload the list to the global bird listing platform www.ebird.org. You can upload as many such lists as you like, from the same or different locations during the four days of the count. More information about the GBBC, Campus Bird Count, and other associated events can be found at www.birdcount.in, the website of the Bird Count India partnership. The global GBBC event is organized by Cornell University and the Audubon Society in America.