Madurai

‘Backyard count’ reveals 400 birds on college campus

Owls, parakeets, sparrows, yellow wagtail, yellow-billed bobbler … these are some of the birds spotted by a group of students from The American College on their campus awash with trees during a bird count on Tuesday.

It formed part of ‘The Great Backyard Bird Count,’ a worldwide exercise of nature enthusiasts near their homes, workplaces and institutions from February 13 to 16. Around 400 birds of 25 species, including forest wagtail, spotted owl, golden oriole, brown-breasted flycatcher, spotted eagle and Indian pond heron were spotted and documented on the college campus.

“This bird count is different as normally nature enthusiasts and ornithologists visit wetlands and marshes to document migrant birds that roost only for a season. In a bid to identify species living around us all the time and make people aware of them, a group of institutions hit upon this idea to do the ‘backyard bird count,” said M. Rajesh, Assistant Professor of Zoology at the college.

For the 30 or so students, who participated in the bird count, armed with DSLR cameras and binoculars, it was a different experience to explore their own college campus in detail. Three groups of students fanned out and searched for birds around the faculty quarters and the various hostels where the footfall is lesser compared to the other parts of the sprawling 40-acre campus.

“A lot can be inferred about the environment based on birds we spot as their presence is dependent on specific trees or plants,” noted M. Jayasudha, a postgraduate zoology student.

Kumaresan Chandrabose, a second-year student and member of Madurai Nature Forum, said documenting the birds would be the first step towards protecting the greenery of the campus. “Students can be made aware of the rich flora and can be motivated to play their part in protecting the trees,” he said.

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Printable version | Apr 13, 2021 1:05:37 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/backyard-count-reveals-400-birds-on-college-campus/article6894576.ece

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