NEW DELHI: The Asian Waterbird Census (AWC), an annual waterbird census by Wetlands International, will be conducted across the Delhi-NCR region in January. The Wetlands International (South Asia) will conduct the census from January 2 to January 17. The census team will cover seven places—Okhla Bird Sanctuary, Surajpur Wetland, Dhanauri Wetland, Najafgarh Jheel and Drain, River Yamuna, Sanjay Lake and National Zoological Park.
“Due to Covid-19 pandemic, limited number of volunteers from different institutions will be able to participate in AWC 2021 in Delhi-NCR. So far, 40 volunteers from different universities, colleges, nature NGOs, forest & wildlife divisions and individual experienced birders have confirmed participation,” said TK Roy, ecologist.
The census aims to collect information on an annual basis of the waterbird populations in the wetlands of the region during the non-breeding period of most species, as a basis for evaluation of sites and monitoring of populations and to monitor the status and condition of wetlands to encourage greater interest in waterbirds and wetlands amongst citizens.
AWC is also recognized as important annual activity to record wetlands & water birds status for conservation by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Govt of India as important part of the ministry’s National Action Plan for conservation of Migratory Birds and their habitats along the Central Asian Flyway.
AWC is an integral part of the global waterbird monitoring programme, the International Waterbird Census (IWC) of Wetlands International. AWC was initiated in 1987 in the Indian sub-continent and has grown rapidly to cover major region of Asia, from Afghanistan eastwards to Japan, Southeast Asia and Australasia. The census thus covers the entire East Asian – Australasian Flyway and a large part of the Central Asian Flyway.