Are you a lover of winged creatures and do you wish to contribute in your own way towards their conservation?

All you need is a pair of binoculars, a notebook, pen and lots of passion to be a part of Chennai Bird Race to be held later this month. Madras Naturalists’ Society, a Chennai-based nature conservation group, along with HSBC Bank, will organise the seventh edition of the day-long Chennai Bird Race on December 22.

The race is a dawn-to-dusk event and several amateur and experienced bird watchers spend a whole day spotting and identifying various bird species around the city.

Organisers said nearly 50 teams participated in every event held in the previous years. Each team comprises one expert and three novices who record the bird species found around the city. This year, about 45 teams are expected to register for the event.

Fourteen-year-old Vikas Madhav is among the ardent bird-watching enthusiasts. “I was a member of the winning team that spotted 118 species during the event in January last year. We spent most of the day at Pulicat and Nelapattu bird sanctuaries. But, we found the greater spotted eagle, not a common sight here, at Guindy national park,” he said.

What helped him identify even the rare birds? “You just have to keep watching birds and read books on them,” he said.

K.V. Sudhakar, president of Madras Naturalists’ Society, and V. Santharam, director of Institute of Bird Studies, Rishi Valley, are this edition’s co-ordinators. Mr. Sudhakar said the members had spotted over 300 species of birds. Last year, Indian skimmer, a rare species, was found by a team, along the East Coast Road.

“We encourage the healthy hobby. The event aims to create awareness about the life of birds in and around the city,” he said. There will be prizes for winners who spot the most number of birds.

The last date for registration through the society’s website, www.blackbuck.org.in., is December 17.

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