Birdwatchers pooling information for research and conservation
The number of birdwatchers in our country is large, and growing rapidly. Can the information collected on birdwatching trips be harnessed for better documentation and monitoring of India's birds? The Bird Count India partnership is an attempt to do so.
The Bird Count India partnership seeks to increase our collective knowledge of bird distribution and populations. Through the collation of information on bird occurrence, we attempt to arrive at a better understanding of seasonality as well as changes over years and decades. To facilitate this, we bring appropriate tools to the birding community, conduct bird events and activities, and provide support to birding groups to conduct their own events. More information is here.
A large number of groups and organizations make up the partnership.
These include 'real', on-ground organizations, as well as virtual groups
(eg Facebook discussion groups). Partners support the goals of Bird
Count India by encouraging their
members/subscribers to take part in events and projects. Several
partners run their own events and projects, with support from Bird Count
India. Any group is welcome to join the partnership. More details are here.
Bird listing and eBird
A common activity of birdwatchers is to visit a location and make a list of all species seen. This simple activity, when pooled across many birdwatchers and visits, and collated in the same place, can yield a large amount of valuable information about the distribution and abundance of birds. The Bird Count India partnership works with the global platform eBird to facilitate the collection & collation of birding lists, and to summarise and display the results in meaningful ways. The result has been a sharp increase in the amount of information from India in the eBird database. Since January 2014, over 2 million observations from India have been uploaded to eBird, with over 150,000 new observations added every month. This inflow of data has allowed the creation of fairly detailed, interactive maps of bird distributions, better understanding of the seasonality of migration, and much more. [images: 2 million image; example map; example barchart]
Events & Projects
The Bird Count India partnership runs, or helps facilitate an number of bird-related events and projects across the country. These include:
- The global Great Backyard Bird Count
- The India-wide Endemic Bird Day
- The Kerala Common Bird Monitoring Programme and Onam Bird Count
- The Pongal Bird Count in Tamil Nadu
- The India-wide Salim Ali Bird Count
- The Big Bird Day across India
.. and more.
These events and projects have helped spread the idea of 'birding to make a difference' and have contributed to the emergence of structured and systematic projects, including: