Who doesn’t love to watch a bird taking off at the break of dawn? Perhaps, it is one of the most soothing sights that leaves you optimistic at the start of a day. An event is coming up later this month in the State for the more serious bird watchers whose love for birds go beyond the mere beauty of seeing them on flight.

The third edition of the bird race organised jointly by Kerala Birder, the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) and Yuhina Eco-Media will be held simultaneously in Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, and Kozhikode on November 15.

Sunjoy Monga, the event organiser, is an avid birdwatcher and a photographer committed to issues related to the environment, nature, and history. The HSBC Bird Race, a dawn-to-dusk event, would witness a large gathering of experienced and budding birdwatchers spending an entire day spotting and identifying birds.

So far, 40 persons have registered for the event in Kochi, said Vishupriyan Kartha, co-ordinator of the event in the city. Participants can form into a team comprising 3 to 4 persons and give themselves an interesting name. They will be free to select the place for watching birds ranging from forests, to coal fields and paddy fields.

Before the start of the event, the participants will be given a logbook detailing the commonly sighted bird species in the State compiled by experts in bird watching. The event would also enable budding birdwatchers to learn the finer points of the trade from experts.

The team identifying and recording the maximum possible species of birds would be awarded at a valedictory function to be held at the end of the day.

Last year (2008) more than 350 birdwatchers participated in the event and some of the teams came up with a tally of 140 species.

Mr. Kartha said there was no room for teams to make bogus claims of sighting a species. The entries made by teams in the logbook would be verified by experts in the field who were not easily hoodwinked. Besides, apart from a mere entry, the participants would have to describe the distinct features of birds belonging to the species, their flight pattern and behaviour, among other things, Mr. Kartha said.

He said an orientation session for the registrants would be held on November 8 ahead of the event.

Birdwatchers from several organisations such as the Malabar Nature History Society, Kottayam Nature Society, World Wide Fund for Nature, Thiruvananthapuram, Warblers and Waders, Nature Education Society, Thrissur, and the Cochin Nature History Society are expected to take active participation in the event. Registration was already underway.

For more details contact Sivakumar A.K. (94473 86978) in Thiruvananthapuram, Mr. Kartha (94464 37410) in Kochi, and Satyan Meppayur (94472 04182) in Kozhikode.