If you happen to be a bird-lover residing in Maharashtra, here is a golden opportunity to participate in a bird counting exercise and feast your eyes on a wide variety of birds that can be spotted there. Maharashtra Pakshimitra, an NGO, will conduct a bird census in the state between January 11 and 26.

The Endangered Crimson-backed Sunbird (Leptocoma minima) was seen at Chandoli National Park in 2011

Maharashtra Pakshimitra is an NGO that has been working for the cause of bird conservation, protection and awareness since 1982. This is the third consecutive year that the NGO is conducting this census. Named the Maha Pakshi Ganana (Large Bird Census) 2014, it relies on the active participation by citizens who would count the birds in their chosen place, collate data and send it for further analysis.

Sharad Apte, ornithologist and coordinator of the census 2014, said,

“The idea behind conducting this census is to create awareness and get an idea as to how many species can be identified.”

The report thus compiled can be used for conservation and protection of the bird species in the region.

In the census conducted in 2013, 93 organisations and individuals representing 18 districts participated resulting in 235 bird species and 48,478 birds being recorded in the state of Maharashtra.

As the census is being conducted for the third consecutive year around the same time, it will be very useful in analysing the changes in bird population, tabulating the numbers of a species across different places, the endemic species of a region and their status.

Bhau Katdare, president of Maharashtra Pakshimitra, said, “At present, our NGO has a census count of Asian water bird. The 2014 census will help us analyse the changes in their population, to find out how many birds are there in different places, the endemic species and their status.”

Tasks of a Volunteer

The responsibilities of a volunteer would include identifying the species and making a note of its distribution, status (critically endangered, vulnerable, near threatened, data deficient, endangered and conservation dependant), location and correct count of species.

The volunteer would also have to report any activities noticed like breeding, nest building, nest, feeding chicks, among others. The birds may be photographed. To help the volunteers note their details, a chart has been prepared by the NGO and is available on its website for reference.

Volunteers can opt for an area such as a house campus, garden, park, river, forest, lake and do the enumeration. Once all the data is received by the NGO after January 26, it will be compiled to figure out the exact count in the state.

Tabulated details of the census conducted by the NGO over a period of 10 days in 2011 and the report are also available on the website.

The effort is a good way for bird-lovers to actively take part and know the bird population in their respective areas. If you wish to use this opportunity not only to pursue your interest in birds, but also to further your knowledge, do contact the organisation Maharashtra Pakshimitra for more details.

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About Ramya Naresh

Ramya is a homemaker who likes to live in harmony with Nature, believing that each form of life is a wonder in itself. She values living in the present and looks forward to each day in all its freshness. She is a Senior Writer with India's Endangered.

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