Special Correspondent

KANNUR: As many as 227 species of birds were sighted in the Bird Race conducted in the northern districts on November 9 in which 18 teams of birdwatchers participated.

The Bird Race, a signature event of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Ltd. (HSBC), in association with the KeraBirder, an Internet mailing group of bird-watchers, and Eco-Media, a Mumbai-based organisation engaged in environment-related activities, was held on Sunday last to commemorate the birth anniversary of late Dr. Salim Ali.

In the northern districts, the event was jointly organised by the Malabar Natural History Society (MNHS). It covered almost all habitats from hill areas to coastal areas in the Kozhikode, Malappuram, Kannur and Wayanad districts.

Some of the important birding locations observed by the birders participated in the race included the Wayanad wildlife sanctuary, Kadalundi community reserve, Kattampally, Purathur, Kottuli and Mavoor wetlands.

The Kannur team comprising Jayan Thomas, an ophthalmologist, and P.C. Rajeevan won the first prize by identifying 140 species in the race.

The team in Malappuram led by K.M. Arif and that in Kozhikode led by C.P. Rajan won second and third prizes respectively, MNHS officials informed.

Species sighted

Some of the important sightings included Black Bellied tern, Small pratincole, Oriental pratincole, Black stork, Blue throat, Black capped king fisher, Chempallikkundu, Jerdons Baza, Great Black, Wood Pecker, Grey necked Bunting, Greater Spotted eagle, Indian Spotted eagle and Broadbilled Sandpiper.

Spotting and identifying

The organisers said that scores of experienced birdwatchers spent the day spotting and identifying birds in the dawn-to-dusk Bird Race event.

The bird watchers also learned the finer points of bird watching, they said. The event was organised to create awareness among people about the bird life surrounding the region as well as mobilise support for the conservation of nature and the environment.