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Summer bird count starts for Bengal

Among uncommon sightings on Saturday, there was Peregrine Falcon, winter migrant to this part of country

Subhajoy Roy | Published 16.04.23, 05:15 AM
A Streak-throated Woodpecker clicked on Saturday

A Streak-throated Woodpecker clicked on Saturday

Picture Courtesy: Shalini Iyengar

A summer bird count to create a record of birds sighted across the state during this time of the year is underway.

The Poila Boishakh Bird Count — the name given to the exercise — started on Saturday and will conclude on Sunday. The organisers chose the first day of the Bengali New Year to start the bird count since the holidays allowed more participation.


“Bird counts are done in winter and then there is the Great Backyard Bird Count done in spring, but no such exercise took place in summer. The birdwatchers felt the need to hold a bird count during summer. This will be held every year henceforth,” said Sujan Chatterjee, one of the coordinators of the bird count in Bengal. Chatterjee and around 150 others split themselves into 27 teams spread out across the state for the count.

One of the objectives behind the summer bird count was to have a record of birds that are sighted during this time. After a few years, there will be a database of birds — both local and migrants — that are seen during this time.

Among the uncommon sightings on Saturday, there was a Peregrine Falcon, a winter migrant to this part of the country.

“The bird could be moulting, which is why it has not started the long migration back to central Asia,” he said.

The summer bird count has been initiated by the Birdwatchers Society, a society of 250 birdwatchers in Bengal and a few from other states. Bird Count India, an organisation that is trying to create a database of birds for conservation, is a partner in the bird count.

Shalini Iyengar, a resident of Garia, on Saturday spotted about 25 species at two locations. Shalini’s morning walk route is along the Baruipur Bypass and close to the Chintamoni Kar Bird Sanctuary.

“I spent about 35 minutes along the Baruipur Bypass, near the boundary of the bird sanctuary and then went to the Baruipur wetlands. I recorded 12 species at the Bypass and 14 species at the wetlands,” said Shalini.

Among the species she could photograph was a male Streak-throated Woodpecker feeding on a banana flower.

Streak-throated Woodpeckers are common in the Indian subcontinent. The males have red crowns while the females have blackish crown.

Ashwin Viswanathan, a member of Bird Count India, said they encourage people to spend about fifteen minutes at a location and then move to another place. “On Sunday birdwatchers must visit places different from the ones they visited on Saturday, but next year they should come back to the same places,” he said.

“This will help us identify the changes, if any,” he added.

Last updated on 16.04.23, 05:15 AM

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