There was an enthusiastic participation by over 90 people in 18 teams for the second edition of the bird race organised by Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History along with HSBC Bank and Yuhina Eco-media on Sunday.

Senior Scientist of SACON, P. Pramod told The Hindu that participants watched birds in multiple locations all within 100 km radius of each of the sites to see as many species as they can.

Participants tried to record as many species of birds as possible and learnt about the finer points of bird-watching from the experts.

The first edition was conducted on December 29, 2010.

According to Mr. Pramod, the bird race participants were in the age group ranging from 10 to 70-plus and from students to industrialist.

Participants walked miles while some of them used two-wheelers and cars for the exercise.

Last year, there was a sighting of 82 species of birds per team and this year, the event that began at 6 a.m. and went on till dusk witnessed some of the teams sighting more than 82 species within the first three to four hours.

The teams travelled in various directions in search of the winged visitors.

This year, the participants displayed seriousness towards the task on hand and there was an enhanced level of awareness and knowledge about ornithology, which was a welcome sign, Mr. Pramod added.

Later in the evening, the participants had a de-briefing session to document/compile the statistics and share their experiences with N. Krishnakumar, Director of Institute of Forest Genetics and Tree Breeding.

The outcome of the bird race, i.e., the compiled data would help in ascertaining the condition of the wetlands and the eco-system in the region and help in formulating policies and in taking decisions to improve the wetland eco-system so as to make the region a continued attraction for winged visitors.

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