The Telegraph
Tuesday , February 26 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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Experts flock to count feathered friend populace

- Sighting of 35 species, 550 birds in a day makes city hotspot for keen watchers

Zoom in your telescopes, bird-watchers, the ultimate nature’s theatre is within the city limits.

Ornithologists have identified bird-watching sites around Patna that could be a delight for those who are fond of watching them closely. Species, including Lesser Whistling Duck, Osprey, Brown Shrike, Indian Cormorant, White Breasted Kingfisher, Bronze-Winged Jacana and Purple Moorhen can be seen in sufficient numbers at several low-lying areas around the capital. At present, bird-watchers from Patna travel all the way to Begusarai’s Kabar Lake and Gidhi Lake in Nalanda to watch the feathered friends.

A team of experts from the state and Hasko Nesemann, a German scholar, identified several bird-watching sites on Sunday as part of Big Bird Day, 2013. The day is celebrated across India. Teams and individuals go out and watch birds to whichever area is convenient to them and report their sightings at the end of the day. These sightings are compiled into a cumulative list of birds seen on a single day.

The areas selected for bird watching were mostly wetlands in urban and suburban Patna. Areas near Nalanda Medical College and Hospital (NMCH), Patna City and Old Bypass are some of the hotspots for the bird lovers.

“We focused on the waterbodies along the low-lying areas of the city that are ideal for flocking of aquatic birds. The NMCH pond, Punpun embankment and areas near the old Bypass were some of the spots where rare birds were sighted. The survey gave an idea of what we have in terms of avian diversity around the city,” said Samir Kumar Sinha, the manager of Wildlife Trust of India and a member of the state wildlife board.

“In Patna, we could spot 35 species and around 550 individual birds in one day,” Sinha said.

The team also raised concerns about the degrading state of permanent waterbodies around the capital.

“On the basis of the survey, I am of the view that the aviation diversity is fairly rich around Patna. Apart from the low-lying areas, we also surveyed the banks of Ganga (from Gandhi Ghat to Digha Ghat) and spotted nine species of birds. However, the degradation of permanent waterbodies has become a concern because of large number of man-made factors. We should pay heed to their conservation,” said Gopal Sharma, a scientist at Zoological Survey of India, Patna.

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