If the lockdown’s got you staring out of the window, intrigued by the bird calls and chirping sounds around you, Bird Count India (BCI) has the perfect challenge for you this month. Why September? Research associate at Bird Count India (BCI), Ashwin Viswanathan, tells us this month marks the beginning of the migration of birds across the country.
“It is the time of the year when we welcome some of our familiar winter visitors as well as many rare birds. Only yesterday, I spotted my first grey wagtail at home, a species that breeds in the Himalayas and beyond, and spends the winter in the peninsula. Some birdwatchers in Kolkata saw their first Asian brown flycatcher yesterday. Many birds that visit South India during the end of September or early October are already moving down through northern and north-western India. So, September is an exciting time for birdwatchers,” he shares.
And so to promote the citizen science of birdwatching and bird monitoring among the public, the group is calling out avian enthusiasts to take the Twenty20 e-birding challenge. “This challenge is based on the extra excitement that migration brings in combination with the next season of IPL T20 that many folks may be excited about. The challenge is to upload 20 checklists of 15 minutes or more during both halves of the month on the online platform, eBird,” he adds.
For those unaware, eBird is a global, Internet-based checklist programme that allows citizens and birdwatchers to document bird sightings, locations, sounds and photos in great detail. The platform used by five lakh birders across the globe boasts of 460 million bird records.
And so if you are lucky enough to spot a brown-grey warbler or a flock of grey-yellow buntings, keep an eye out. While you are at it, ensure you follow all the COVID guidelines. “This is one of the prime reasons why all our current challenges are designed, so that birders can complete them at home.”
Viswanathan reveals that birdwatchers have been spending more time watching birds from their homes during the pandemic as a source of entertainment and happiness. “So, although we aren’t sure if bird activity has increased, birdwatching certainly has,” he signs off.
Log on to birdcount.in/september-2020-ebirding-challenge/
Till October 10 (Last day for submission of lists)
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