Bird count records 163 species

February 23, 2017 12:00 am | Updated 03:44 am IST

The fifth edition of Great Backyard Bird Count was held from February 17 to 20 in Salem

Yellow-throated Bulbul and Blue-capped Rock Thrush spotted during the Great Backyard Bird Count at Yercaud in Salem district.Special ArrangementHandout_email

Yellow-throated Bulbul and Blue-capped Rock Thrush spotted during the Great Backyard Bird Count at Yercaud in Salem district.Special ArrangementHandout_email

As many as 163 species of birds, including 39 species of migrants and partial migrants, were recorded during the four-day Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) held from February 17 to 20.

The fifth edition of the global event was coordinated by Bird Count India and United Salem for Bird Life. Led by bird watchers S.V. Ganeshwar, Murugesh Natesan, M. Elavarasan and their friends, the team spotted rare birds such as the Hair-crested Drongo and Blue-capped Rock Thrush in Yercaud while Ruddy-breasted Crake was spotted in Kannankurichi Lake. The team also spotted rare European Bee-eaters, the elusive Yellow-throated Bulbul and Rusty-tailed Flycatcher that surprised the birders.

The Pin-tailed Snipe that breeds in northern Russia was recorded for the first time in Salem at Kannankurichi Mookaneri Lake.

The team also counted 21 Baillon’s Crakes, which is highest count for the species recorded in the State.

In Pudhu Eri, rare species such as the Rock Eagle Owl, Mottled Wood Owl and Jerdon’s Nightjar were spotted.

As part of the count, a Campus Bird Count was conducted in Panchayat Union Middle Schools in Krishnampudur and Thalavaipatti that saw enthusiastic participation from school and college students.

Bird walk

Likewise, a bird walk was organised at Kannankurichi Lake and Maramangalathupatti near Steel Plant by T. Jayamurugan in which 35 students participated. Bird watchers in Salem have collectively submitted more than 500 check-lists.

Mr. Ganeshwar told The Hindu that spending at least 15 minutes in any location will give us a better sense of the birds present in that area. This will help us understand the distribution and movements of species in a short span of time.

Though the total species in the count has increased, ten species recorded in last year’s count were not seen this year including the endangered Oriental Darter and River Tern.

On the other hand, the number of Rosy Starlings has slightly increased. If two year data can give us such insights, the long term results of similar events and listing throughout the year will be helpful in conservation, he said.

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