Eighty amateur bird-watchers took part in the Kerala Bird Race 2012 held in five different locations in and around Thiruvananthapuram city the other day.
The Museum & Zoo premises, Akkulam - Veli wetlands, Punchakkari, Arippa forests, Bonacaud and Kallar-Ponmudi were the regions the different teams covered during the day-long event.
Between them the participants, comprising school and college students, IT professionals, businessmen, teachers, police officials and housewives, reported 157 species of birds. This was higher than last year’s findings of 148 species, said a press release.
While the hilltops of Ponmudi and the forests of Kallar provided the highest number of bird species - 82; Vellayani and the paddyfields of Punchakkari also did not disappoint, with sightings of migrants like Greater Spotted Eagle, Marsh Harrier and Blue-tailed Bee-eaters.
The Great Indian Hornbill sighted in Arippa was made ‘Bird of the Day’ as it was spotted for the first time in the Thiruvananthapuram Bird Race. Another noteworthy finding was the very few numbers of House Sparrows in Palayam Market and other potential sites. This indicates a drastic fall in their population, maybe due to constraints in food availability inside the city and surrounding areas, the release said. Overall, the number of species had increased in all sites than the Bird Race of 2011, but the population of each species seemed to have come down. Prizes were awarded to the three teams that spotted the maximum number of birds by V Gopinathan, Chief Wildlife Warden & Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife), Kerala. Prizes were also given to eldest and youngest bird-watchers - septuagenarian Yunis Kunju and 10-year-old Sera Mariam Benny respectively.