Call of the wild

Birds of all hues: Bulbul feeding its young ones  

If the idea of waking up to the sound of birds appeals to you, this Sunday morning, you’ll be able to, even if you’re stuck in a concrete jungle. It’s International Dawn Chorus Day, celebrated on the first Sunday of May, and All India Radio’s live broadcast on FM Rainbow will bring bird song from sanctuaries across the world, aired live. In India, you’ll hear it from Sattal in Nainital district of Uttarakhand.

“The programme is organised by the European Broadcasting Union, which is an association of 70 broadcasters spread across Europe,” says Amlanjyoti Mazumdar, Director, External Services Division, All India Radio and Executive Producer of the special broadcast. The organisation has been programming the International Dawn Chorus for 30 years now. In 2017 they reached out to AIR. “We thought it would be a good opportunity,” he says, of the programme now in its third year, produced by Monika Gulati this year. The first broadcast from Soor Sarovar Bird Sanctuary, Agra; the second was aired from Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary in West Bengal, bordering Bhutan in the foothills of Himalayas. Both, says Mazumdar, were appreciated. Listeners, especially those in urban areas, wrote in, to say they’d enjoyed it, because they were otherwise not exposed to bird song.

Blue whistling thrush

Blue whistling thrush  

This year’s broadcast from Sattal, which is part of the Naina Devi Bird Conservation Reserve, features 500 species, including rare varieties of birds such as the Himalayan bulbul, he says. The broadcast starts at 4.30 a.m. and will continue until 10 a.m. “They start at midnight, Ireland time and move east. As the sun rises, the broadcast moves from one country to another,” says Mazumdar.

India will be the first on the show, being the eastern most country, after which other countries will tune in with their bird calls. Another round of Indian bird calls will be heard at 6:15 a.m. during the show. Each country will be given five minutes of broadcast time in the last hour of the show, the crescendo hour, so that the entire perspective is before the listener, says Mazumdar. Commentators, who are bird specialists, will be joining the AIR team at Sattal. They are Pankaj Gupta, a bird watcher from Delhi, and Prof. Surya Prakash, from the Deptatment of Life Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University. They will guide the listener, helping to identify bird calls, and also telling people a little more about the birds, their habitat and habits.


Cuckoo   | Photo Credit: C_V_SUBRAHMANYAM.

“Most birds are very active in the morning. Since it is breeding season there will be a lot of territorial calls by birds trying to proclaim their territory or trying to attract their mate. You can hear spring calls from the broadcast from Ireland. From Sattal you will hear summer breeding calls,” says Pankaj. The ones most likely to be heard are the blue whistling thrush, cuckoos, tits, bulbuls, Asian koels, and magpie robins. Mazumdar has been working on the logistics of the broadcast over the last two months: “It involves huge coordination. The timing has to be precise. There have been several rounds of mock drills which we have done. As you move from one country to another there can be a problem of switching over. We wanted to minimise these aspects so that there are no glitches.”

On AIR FM Rainbow channels in 28 cities across

the country; in Delhi on FM Rainbow at 106.1

and 102.6 MHZ frequencies; on Medium Wave

in other cities on local frequencies; live

streaming at www.airworldservice.org and on

the AIR mobile App Air World Service on

the Google Play store.

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Printable version | Oct 28, 2021 8:59:16 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/call-of-the-wild/article27034129.ece

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