eBird Portal Records 2mn-plus Observations

Published: 19th November 2015 05:06 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th November 2015 05:06 AM   |  A+A-

BENGALURU: eBird, a data portal where bird enthusiasts can upload observations, has elicited an overwhelming response from Indian birdwatchers. In October this year, eBird in India crossed 2 million observations.

The portal is an ideal site where people can upload recordings of bird song, interesting mating rituals or of their fledgelings.

eBird is an international citizen science project of the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society in the US.

ebird in India is coordinated by Bird Count India (BCI), a partnership of a large number of organisations and groups interested in birds and nature.

Across the world, people are interested in birds. Birders or birdwatchers set off on periodic sojourns into forested areas, water bodies and even croplands and urban gardens, to watch birds. Some of them also help out in carefully documenting what they see.

eBird is an international citizen science project of the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society in the US. 

Fourteen-year-old Arya Vinod saw 18 Malabar Pied Hornbills when she stepped into her backyard in Shoranur, Palakkad in October 2013.  It was the first sighting of these majestic birds in over 15 years for Palakkad, and she was thrilled.

 The elusive Malabar Pied Hornbill is a large black-and-white bird, with a distinctive yellow casque on its head, and a large yellow beak. This beautiful species is a forest resident and eats fruit and insects. The 18 in Arya’s backyard stayed for about a week before taking off.  She started early morning bird walks around her house in farmland and a nearby woodland; she has recorded 102 species around her home so far.

“A birder simply enters when, where, and how they went birding, then fills out a checklist of all the birds seen and heard during the outing,” says the eBird website.  It is “a nationwide structured monitoring programme that involves birders”, says Suhel Quader from the Nature Conservation Foundation, one of the partners in BCI.

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 “Take the case of the decline of the vulture population in India. If there had been a way to aggregate sightings of birders in a single place, perhaps we would have been able to spot the declines much earlier and take action,” said Quader.

Dr Raju Kasambe from the Bombay Natural History Society said, “Apart from gathering information in a general sense, eBird provides the opportunity for keeping track of common birds as well as monitoring the status of Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas.”

Birders have been using eBird in India since 2014, and a page dedicated to India, eBird India —was launched in August this year by Bird Count India (BCI), a group of organisations.

 Karnataka is second on eBird uploads with about 19,300 checklists.  Check the eBird India site (ebird.org/india) and follow eBird India on Facebook.

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