BENGALURU: As Bengaluru is heading towards urbanisation, the ecology in and around the city is bearing the brunt of it. “Decrease in number of lakes and increase in pollution has reduced the number of birds in the city,” observes Ulhas Anand, a member of Bird Watchers Field Club of Bangalore, founded in the seventies. He has been a part of the group since 27 years.
Every Sunday, the group sets out birding to different places in the city. “We go to areas like Hebbal Lake, Lalbagh Lake, Kanakapura, Bannergatta and Sarjapur Road and other places wherever there are lakes. There are about 30-40 members from the group who join us,” he says.
Apart from the group members, there are a lot of outsiders and school and college students who join the group during their meet-up. They take notes of the species and number of the birds they get to see during their trip.
Right now, it is St Joseph College students who are in a process of coming up with bird census with the help of experts in the group. The group is open to anyone willing to learn more about birds.
Ulhas adds that they also educate the other participants about the birds, their species, their behaviour, habit, habitat, etc. There are about 300-plus species in and around the city of which 150 can be easily spotted. “There are about 20-30 in Lalbagh itself. But the number was 90-95 per cent more till 2002, after which it came down drastically,” he says.
Joiston Pereira, a student from St Joseph College says, “My friend Anvitha and I are part of the group for two years now. We recently realised that the last bird census was conducted in 1999. We decided to do it again this year. Our aim is to check how the development in Bengaluru has affected the city. We are also checking how tanks’ dynamics have changed.”
He says that the lakes have also been encroached by jogging tracks and play areas in various places.
“We are also covering plants and analysing what kind of threat each lake is facing,” Joiston adds.
While the city has more than 150 lakes, Joiston observes that about 47 of them have either dried up or are enchroched.
“Bellandur lake which recently saw foam coming out of it and then caught fire once saw 56,000 migratory ducks in 1996-97,” informs Ulhas. The lake was a watershed area and was turned into a residential and commercial area.
But he appreciates residents staying around Kaikondrahalli lake for the initiatives they have taken to preserve it. “They have proper water sewage treatment plant. They don’t allow boating, fishing, washing clothes or defecating along the sides of the lake. The lake doesn’t let out any bad odour,” Ulhas adds.
We recently realised that the last bird census was conducted in 1999. We decided to do it again this year again. Our aim is to check how the development in Bengaluru has affected the city.
Joiston Pereira, student