For the love of birds: A pilot birding workshop in the Andaman Islands

Krishna Anujan, Zoya Tyabji, Sowjanya Chandrasekhar, Vardhan Patankar and Chetana B Purushotham conducted a very successful birding workshop in the Andaman Islands with the aim to train and help local bird enthusiasts develop as birding tour guides in the islands. Here is their description of what they did, with some advice at the end for others who wish to conduct such workshops.

It was a typical June day in Port Blair – cloudy, unpredictable, and beautiful. Somewhere in town, 25-odd people were intently watching a couple of glossy swiftlets soaring, unperturbed by the bad weather. These people were a collection of bird photographers, zoology students, doctors, tour operators, trekking guides and even a few forest guards, who had all come together to be students again, for five days. The Forest and Tourism Departments, Andaman and Nicobar Islands had organised a birding workshop to train and certify local islanders as birding tour guides. To conduct this workshop, five of us researchers, loosely associated with the Andaman and Nicobar Islands Environmental Team (ANET) put our heads together to come up with a plan.

The team at Mount Harriet National Park, South Andaman

The team at Mount Harriet National Park, South Andaman © Basheer

Over the five days of the workshop (31 May to 4 June 2016), we held sessions that covered bird diversity, endemic species, natural history and behaviour. Throughout the workshop, we practised techniques (and tricks) to identify birds by looking at their shapes and patterns, habits and habitats and by listening to their sounds. We emphasised the need to record observations by making notes, sketches and lists. Entire sessions were dedicated to learning how to count birds, use field guides and share lists on eBird. We had a lot of fun during bird quick-draw quizzes, a parliamentary-style debate around birdwatching ethics and finally birding-guide trial runs where roles were reversed!

It turned out to be a good balance of classroom and field time when we birded in different ecosystems: forest edge and fields, evergreen forests, littoral forests, mangroves and beaches. At the end of five days, everyone had caught up to the same level; what had started out with a photo quiz where few answered, ended with a bird pictionary where everyone was drawing and shouting answers!

Learning about mangroves and birds at high tide © Arun Singh

Learning about mangroves and birds at high tide © Arun Singh

The entire group has now organised into a birding society that takes a trip every other weekend and shares birding updates through social media. Many have been actively contributing to eBird since, and their reach across these islands, where birding is still a new hobby, can be phenomenal.

What we learnt about conducting a workshop

For the five of us, who have never done a workshop of this scale previously, this was a huge learning experience that was highly satisfying as well. Here are a few things that we learned along the way:

  • Starting the workshop with a lesson plan and schedule, but being open to constant modifications as you get to know your participants, helps to accommodate their strengths and weaknesses.
  • The biological and technical aspects of bird watching can be taught in local languages.
  • Our methods of teaching (inspired by the SCUBA diving way of learning!) ensured that sessions began with a clear briefing and ended with a critical debriefing session with the students. While planning the workshop, ‘instructor’ notes helped us immensely to keep track of the main messages needed to be conveyed in each session.
  • Adults enjoy interactive games too! Post-session evaluations help students recap their learnings especially when done using interactive (and often impromptu) games.
  • Constantly mix the students (using birding-based games again) for the different sessions (even if you sense reluctance at first) and you might find that you’ve helped create a mixed group, flocking together even months after the workshop.
The team observed a red-tailed trinket snake feeding on an Andaman wood pigeon at Mount Harriet National Park © Ankita Chowdary

The team observed a red-tailed trinket snake feeding on an Andaman wood pigeon at Mount Harriet National Park © Ankita Chowdary

Here are the checklists from our birding sessions:

Shoalbay: Checklist 1, Checklist 2, Checklist 3
Mt Harriet NP: Checklist 1, Checklist 2, Checklist 3

 

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June 2016 eBirders of the Month

ebirding challenge logo 800pxJune is normally another month where birding activity is relatively low. Still, several hundred people birded (and eBirded) through the month.

Here is a break-up of eBirding in India in June (with previous month in brackets).

Number of birders: 621 (678)
Number of lists (all types): 5,200 (6,100)
Number of lists (complete, 15min or longer): 4,300 (5,100)
Number of observations: 0.95 lakh (1.11 lakh)

The challenge for June was to upload 20 no-X, complete checklists of at least 15-minute duration of which at least three lists must document a brood-parasitic cuckoo (seen or heard). Of the 621 eBirders in June, 39 met or exceeded the target for the month. They are (as always, excluding group accounts):

Abhishek Gulshan
Abinand Reddy
Ajay Gadikar
Akash Gulalia
Albin Jacob
AM Amsa
Ankit Vikrant
Ashwin Viswanathan
Avinash Bhagat
Ganeshwar S V
Indira Srinivasan
Jayadev Menon
Jaydev Mandal
Komal Agrawal
Lakshmikant Neve
Manju Sinha
Maxim Rodrigues K
Panchapakesan Jeganathan
Prashanth N S
Premchand Reghuvaran
Rajendra Gadgil
Rajesh Prasad
Ramit Singal
Raphy Kallettumkara
Renju TR
Sahana M
Sanjiv Khanna
Sasidharan Manekkara
Selvaganesh K
Shanmugam Kalidass
Shivaprakash Adavanne
Shruti Patil
Shwetha Bharathi
Steffin Babu
Suhel Quader
Trilok Rana
Vaidehi Gunjal
Vidhya Sundar
Vinay Nadig

Many congratulations to all of them!

One person from these 39 was chosen using a computer-generated random number to receive a small gift. That person is

Maxim Rodrigues K

who receives a copy of How to be a (bad) birdwatcher by Simon Barnes. (You can read reviews here and here.)

Banded Bay Cuckoo, from this list by Sumit Chakrabarti at Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh

Banded Bay Cuckoo, from this list by Sumit Chakrabarti at Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh

Here is the full list of all 621 eBirders from India in June 2016:

10000Birds Yearlist 2016, Aaditya S Kumar, Aarti Phatarphekar, Abdul Raheem munderi , Abdul Raheem Munderi, Abhay Hule, Abhijeet Avate, abhijith a.p.c, Abhijith surendran, Abhiram Sankar, Abhishek Bhargava, Abhishek Gulshan, abhishek jamalabad, abhishek ravindra, Abinand Reddy, Adesh Shivkar, Aditya K, Aditya Rachakonda, Afshan Husain, Afthab Faisal k, Aidan Fonseca, Ajay Gadikar, Ajinkya Supekar, AJISHMA S, Ajit Hota, Akash Gulalia, AKSHATA DESHPANDE, AKSHAY MUDGAL, Akshay Surendra, Albin Jacob, Aljo Anand, AMALKRISHNAN.S AND AKASHKRISHNAN.S, Amal U S, AM AMSA, Amit kaushik, Amit Srivastava, Amol Lopes, amol mande, Anagha Bagade, Anandaraman Sivakumar, anand sengottuvelu, anant pande, Ander Buckley, Andrew Ducat, Aneesh Sasidevan, Anil Mahajan, Aniruddha Ghosh, Anish Aravind, anjana hari, Ankit Vikrant, Anoop CR, anshuman sarkar, Anuradha Krishnan, Anurag Vishwakarma, Aparajita Datta, Appavu Pavendhan, Apurba Chakraborty, Arabinda Pal, aravinda hr, aravinda kudla, Aravind AM, Aravind Amirtharaj, Arjun CP, Arjun R, Arka Sarkar, Arnab Pal, Arnold Goveas, Arpitha Jayanth, Arshad A, Arshad Hussain, Arun Bhaskaran, Arundev G, ARUN PRABHU, Arun Ratheesh, Arun Simha, Arun Singh, Arun Varghese, Arya Vinod, A. S., Ashish Babre, Ashish Bhatt, Ashis Kumar Pradhan, Ashok Sengottuvelu, Ashok Sengupta, Ashwini Kumar Malle, Ashwin Viswanathan, Ashwin Warudkar, Aswin Nisanth, Athira K, Augustin Joseph, AVINASH BHAGAT, Avinash Kamath, Avishkar Munje, Ayush Ankit, Azhar Ali Ashraf, Badri Narayanan Thiagarajan, Balwant Negi, Bhagyashree Rao, Bhalchandra Pujari, Bhanu Prakash, BHARAT RUGHANI, Bhaskar Krishnamachari, Bhaskar Sati, BHAVIK PARIKH, Bijoy Venugopal, bijumon ke, Binu Nair, Bird Snappers, Biswanath Mondal, Bridesh Chauhan, Chaatak Nature Conservation Society, chaitanya kodi, Chandrasekaran Venkatraman, Chandra Shekara, Charlotte Chang, Chayant Gonsalves, Cheran Jagadeesan, Chetana Purushotham, chetan harikishandas joshi, Chetna Sharma, chithrabhanu pakaravoor, Chris Agee, Chris Bowden, Cinchona GHS(Group account), Clara Correia, CNS Nature, Dakshina Sudhir, Darshan Dudhane, Darshan Potdar, Dayani Chakravarthy, deborshee gogoi, Deepak Balasubramanian, Deepak Jois, Deepa Mohan, Dhananjai Mohan, dhananjay bhamburkar, Dharmaraj Patil, dhiren malani, Dhruba Saikia, Dhruvam Desai, dhruv pathak, diksha satarkar, Dilip K G, Dinesh K.S., dipak bowalkar, Divya Mudappa, Dp Srivastava, Dr George P J, Dr. Ravi M, Dr Sumit Chakrabarti, Dr. Swapnil Dhargawe, Dr. Utkarsh Betodkar, Elavarasi P, Emanuel george , Eniyan S K, Ezhupunna Birders, Gaja mohanraj, Ganesh Datar, Ganesh Gore, Ganeshwar S V, Garima Bhatia, Gaurang Bagda, Gaurav Nalkur, Gautam Allamsetty, Geeta Viswanathan, Geetha Venkataraman, George Lobo, Gireesh Pallikkara, Gnanaskandan Kesavabharathi, gokul vadivel, Gopalakrishna R, Gopal bhagavatula, GOVIND GIRIJA, Gowthama Poludasu, G Parameswaran, Graham B Langley, Guhan Sundar, gurpreet kaur, HANNA THOMAS, Hari Krishna Adepu, Harikrishnan S, Hari Krishnan S, hari kumar, HARI MAVELIKARA, Hari Prakash J R, Harish Chandra, Harsha Jayaramaiah, harsha nr, Harshavardhan Jamakhandi, harsh doshi, Harshith JV, HARSHJEET BAL, Hashiq AH, Hemanth Byatroy, Hemant Kirola, Hemanya Radadia, Himadri Banerjee, Himanshu Dave, Hrishikesh Wandrekar, Ian Kerr, Imran khan, Indira Srinivasan, Indu Champati, Induchoodan A Sreedharan, Intesar Suhail, Irshad Theba, jagadish chandra, Jaichand Johnson, Janhvi Vyas, Jasleen Waraich, Jaswinder Waraich, Jayadev Menon, Jayan Thomas, Jaydev Mandal, Jeet Sheth, Jeffin John, Jignesh Rathid, jithesh pai, J L Singh, Job Joseph, Joby Joseph, JOSE RANI BABU, joshua Dsilva, JUGAL PATEL, Kaajal Dasgupta, Kalaimani Ayuthavel , Kalyan Ineni, Kalyan Varma, Kanad Baidya, Kannan U L, Kanwar B Singh , Karthikeyan G B, Karthik Teegalapalli, karun g, Kaustubh Rau, Kavi Nanda, Kavin SG, Kingsley David, Kiran bagade, Kiron Vijay, Kishore Bakshi, Kishorekumar Panaganti, Kit Britten, KN Sivakumar, Komal Agrawal, Krishna Anujan, Krishna Deepak, Krishnamoorthy Muthirulan, Krishna Murthy, Krishnamurthy Vijaykumar, K.Sravan Kumar, Kulbhushansingh Suryawanshi, Kuldeep Mhatre, Kumar RR, Lakshmikant Neve, Lakshminarasimha Ranganathan, Lekshmi Jayakumar, Lloyd Fernandes, Madhavan Nirmal, Madhurima Das, madhushri mudke, Magesh Ram, Mahathi Narayanaswamy, Mahesh Bilaskar , Mahesh madhu, MAITREYA SUKUMAR, Mallika Rajasekaran, Malyasri Bhattacharya, Mamta Megha, Manan Singh Mahadev, Manash Pratim Medhi, Manaswini Ghosal, Mandar Bhagat, Mangirish Dharwadkar, Manidip Mandal, Manjula Ravi, Manju Sinha, Manoj Bind, Manoj Karingamadathil, MATEEN PATEL, Maulik Varu, MAXIM RODRIGUES K, Maya Ramaswamy, M D Madhusudan, Md Shafi, Meghna Joshi, Mike Prince, Milan Sojitra, Milind Ganatra, minal patel, Miraj Hussain, Misha Bansal, Mittal Gala, M karthikayan, Mohamed Salman, Mohit Aggarwal, Mohith Shenoy, Mohit Mehta, Monica Kaushik, Mousumi Dutta, mridul anand, MS Raghunath, mujeeb pm, Mukesh Sehgal, Mukundan Kizhakkemadham, Murtuza Hussain Abrar, Muthu Narayanan, M V BHAKTHA, Nagappan R, Najeeb khan, namassivayan lakshmanan, Nandkishor Dudhe, Naresh Vadrevu, naveen upadhyay, Navya r, Neeraj Amarnani, Niketan Kasare, Nikita Khamparia , Ninad Raote, Niranjan A, Niranjana C, Nirav Joshi, Nishant Shah, Nisha R V, Nitin Tomer, Nivedita Kotharé, Nosherwan Sethna, Nudrat Sayed, Omkar Dharwadkar, omkar naik, Padmanav Kundu, Panchami Manoo Ukil, Panchapakesan Jeganathan, PANKAJ GUPTA, Pankaj Lad, Pankaj raina, Pankaj Sharma, Parag Sakpal, paramita mazumdar, paresh gosavi, Parikshit Khisty, Parvaiz Shagoo, PARVATHY AS, Paul Buckley, Pavan Ramachandra, PC Banerjee, Phani krishna Ravi, Polly Poulose, pooja pawar, Prabhakar Sastri, PRADEEP KUMAR V B, Prakash G, Prakash Mathew, prameela rani, Pramod Nair, Prasanna Gautam, Prasanna Parab, prashant bhagat, Prashanth N S, Prashant Kumar, Prashant Tewari, prateek mehta, Prathamesh Desai, Praveen J, Premchand Reghuvaran, Prem Prakash Garg, Prithivi Raj S, PRITPAL PANJETA, Punit Mehta, Raaj Bora, Raghavendra Mukundarao, Raghavendra S N, Raghu Nathan, Raghunath r, Raghuvanshi Rajesh, Rahul Jawalge, rahul narlanka, Rahul Wakare, Rajan KC, Rajarajan V, Rajashree Khalap, Rajasree Vasudevan , rajen annyam, Rajendra Gadgil, Rajesh Balakrishnan, Rajesh Bhalodia, Rajesh Kalra, rajesh n nayak, Rajesh Panwar, rajesh poojary, Rajesh Prasad, Rajneesh Suvarna, Raju Kasambe, Raju Sankaran, Rama Neelamegam, Ramanjinaiah v Siddu, Ramesh Desai, Ramesh Ganeshan, Ramesh Shenai, Ramit Singal, Ram Vikas, raphy kallettumkara, Raveendran Natarajan, RAVI DHONGLE, ravi patel, Raviprakash KB, REEF RCOEM, Regin George, renju tr, renuka Vijayaraghavan, Rima Dhillon, Ritesh Dighe, Rithika Fernandes, Ritobroto Chanda, Robin Antony, Rohan Chakravarty, Rohit Chakravarty, Rohit Jha, Rohit Mudadi, Rohit Naniwadekar, Ronit Dutta, Roshnath R, Rouf Sadiq Tantray, Ruta Kale, sachin chandran, Sachin Main, Saddam Husain Lodha, Sahana M, sahithya selvaraj, sakthi manickam, Sameer Desai, Samuel John, Samyukth Sridharan, Sandhya Lenka, sandip das, Sanjay Karanth, Sanjay Malik, Sanjeev Goyal, Sanjiv Khanna, Sannidhya De, Santanu Manna, Santharam V, santosh thakur, Saransh Fattepuria, Sarath Champati, saravanan ajith, Sashi Kumar, sasidharan manekkara, Sathisha CH, Sathya Chandra Sagar H S, sathya kumar, Sathya Narayanan Vijayakumar, Sathyan Meppayur, Satish K, satish siwatch, Satypal Singh, Saurabh Sawant, Savio Fonseca, Savithri Raman, Savithri Singh, Selvaganesh K, Selvarajan V, Shafeeq Wilson, Shah Jahan, Shaiba Sharikmaslat, Shalini Singh, Shanmugam Kalidass, shantilal Varu, Sharad Apte, Sharang Satish, Shariq Khan, Shashank Birla, Shashikant S. Naik, sheeba nanjan, Sheela Panwar, Sheena S, SHEKHAR BOPARDIKAR, Sherman Garnett, SHESHGIRI BAGDE, Shishupala S, Shivaprakash Adavanne, Shivashankar Manjunatha, Shivi Mishra, Shiv K, Shiv kumar, shobita asthana, Shrikanth nayak, Shruti Hegde, Shruti Patil, Shubha Nava, Shwetha Bharathi, Siddhesh Surve, Simon Tickle, Sivakumar AK, Sivakumar SS, Sivakumar Swaminathan, Sivashankar Ramachandran, Siva T, skanda sn, Smitha Rao, Snehasis Sinha, soham brahmbhatt, Soma Ateesh, Somoyita sur, Sonu Arora, Sophia S, Soumya Shubhra Nag, Sourajit Ghosal, S R Aamir, sreebin p s, Sreedev Puthur, Sreekanth P , Sreekumar Chirukandoth, Sreekumar E R, Srikanth Bhamidipati, Srinivasa Shenoy, Sriram Reddy, S S Cheema, SS prasanth, steffin babu, Stephen Dias, Subbu Subramanya, SUBHAM SARKAR, Subramanian Sankar, Subramniam Venkatramani, Sudeshna Dey, Sudhir Moorti, Sudhir Reddy, Sugandha Gosavi, Suhel Quader, SUJAN CHATTERJEE, Sujata Phadke, Sumanta Pramanick, Sumesh b, sundareswaran vetaikorumagan, Sundar Palanivelu, sunil kumar, Suniti Bhushan Datta, Surendhar Boobalan, Suresh Jones, Suresh Kumar, Suresh Rana, suresh sharma, Suresh V P Suresh, Surya Prakash, sutirtha lahiri, Swapnil Wankhede, swathi chandramohan, swathi H A, SWATHI H A, Swati Sidhu, Swetashree Purohit, Syed Mustahsen, Syed Muzamil, Taksh Sangwan, Tants Choudhary, tanuja dasharath haunsbhavi, Tanvi DG, Tanya Seshadri, Tapas Misra, Taraneh Amini, Tarun Menon, Taukeer Alam Lodha, Tejas Vagadia, TheNatureTrust (GroupAccount), Thomas Falk, Thomas Job, Thorkild Michaelsen, Tim Bawden, Trilok Rana, Tropical Forest Research Institute Jabalpur, T R Shankar Raman, Udaya Kumar Balasubramanian, Uday Kiran, Umesh Vaghela, Vaidehi Gunjal, vaisakh george, Vaishali Savkar, Vardhan Patankar, Varsha G, Varun Kher, Vedant Kumbhar, Vedant Raju Kasambe, Venkatesh R, Venugopalan R, Vidhya Sundar, Vignesh Menon, Vijayakumar RD, Vijaya Lakshmi, vijay kumar, Vikas Madhav Nagarajan, vikrant yadav, Vinay Bharadwaj, Vinay Das, Vinay Nadig, vincent vinay, Vineeth Kumar, Vinoba Anand, vinod k, Viral Pankaj, Vishal Dutta, Vishambhar Agarwal , Vishnu Narayanan, vishnu sankar, Vishwanath Shinde, Vivek Puliyeri, Vivek Raut, Vivek Rawat, vrinda lath, VV Robin, Wesley Rajaleelan, Wingco Sethi, Wolfe Repass, Yagnesh Desai, yogendra hs, Yogesh Athavale, Yogesh Parashar, Yogesh Patel, Yogesh Wadadekar, yokesh bharathi, Zareef Khan Lodha

Are you doing your best to match the target for July (sharing your lists)? And there is also a set of yearlong challenges for 2016 to bird towards!

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Is that a Pipit or a Lark?

Few birds are as confusing to the beginning birder as Pipits and Larks. The first step towards identifying the species within the two families is to be able to tell between a pipit and a lark. Here is a short guide to telling apart these confusing ground-dwelling birds.

Morphology

Pipits and larks are generally confused with each other because they can look very similar in plumage. Both are usually brown, variably streaked both above and on the breast and generally have some pattern on the face.

Paddyfield Pipit – note the streaking on the back and on the breast, a clean facial pattern © Ramit Singal

An Indian Bushlark © Albin Jacob (See in checklist)

Indian Bushlark – plumage wise, similar to above Pipit with streaking on upperparts and on the breast, relatively well defined facial pattern © Albin Jacob (See in checklist)

However, some pipits may also be relatively plain brown – and correspondingly, some larks may appear quite unlike their congeners and look quite plain as well!

Tawny Pipit © Pronoy Baidya (see in checklist)

Tawny Pipit – pale, clean breast and upperparts, overall relatively non-descript with not many markings © Pronoy Baidya (see in checklist)

Rufous-tailed Lark © Noah Strycker (see in checklist)

Rufous-tailed Lark – a very different lark from the rest, relatively much plainer and appears quite rufous © Noah Strycker (see in checklist)

Structure

The best way to visually differentiate larks from pipits is to note the structure of the bird. The key differences are highlighted in the following table:

Pipits Larks
Build Slimmer, lighter Dumpier, heavy-looking
Bill Slender Heavy, thicker (variable)
Wings Narrower Rounder/broader
Tail Longer Shorter
Nostrils Fully exposed Partially exposed (variable)
Crest None Some show a crest

Note: All features may not be true for all species, but all pipit or lark species will show at least 3-4 features respectively.

Note the overall lighter build, slender beak, exposed nostrils, medium-length tail © Ramit Singal

Blyth’s Pipit. Note the overall lighter build, slender beak, exposed nostrils, medium-length tail © Ramit Singal

Note the heavy bill, dumpier looking structure, presence of crest © Vaidehi Gunjal (see in checklist)

Sykes’s (Tawny) Lark. Note the heavy bill, dumpier looking structure, presence of crest, partially exposed nostril © Vaidehi Gunjal (see in checklist)

Tree Pipit. Note the lean build, slender bill, exposed nostrils © Syed Muzamil (See in checklist)

Tree Pipit. Note the lean build, slender bill, exposed nostrils © Syed Muzamil (See in checklist)

Ashy-crowned Sparrow-lark. Note the bulky structure, heavy bill, short tail, crouched stance © Prashant Kumar (see in checklist)

Ashy-crowned Sparrow-lark. Note the bulky structure, heavy bill, short tail, unexposed nostrils, crouched stance © Prashant Kumar (see in checklist)

Rosy Pipit. Note the longer tail, slim beak, slender structure, upright looking stance © Pranjal J Saikia

Rosy Pipit. Note the longer tail, slim beak, slender structure, upright looking stance, exposed nostrils © Pranjal J Saikia

Jerdon's Bushlark. Note the heavy built, thick bill, short tail © Vinoba Anand (see in checklist)

Jerdon’s Bushlark. Note the bulky structure, thick bill, short tail © Vinoba Anand (see in checklist)

Behaviour

Pipits are active feeders, seen moving around and standing upright often.

Larks, on the other hand, are relatively slower and usually appear to have a crouching stance.

(Note: This is indicative of the pipit’s more insectivorous diet, and the lark’s dietary preference for plant material)

Here are a few videos to illustrate these differences in behaviour:

Paddyfield Pipit – note its active behaviour and movements on the ground

Greater Short-toed Lark – winter migrants to India, seen here scouring the ground for seeds/bulbs/other plant material.

Malabar Lark – filmed while it was searching for plant material to feed upon

Vocalization

Calls of pipits and larks can be very similar. However most lark songs are more complex, longer than those of the pipits and may even include mimicry!

To illustrate these differences:

Summary

These guidelines should help you with the first step in tackling larks and pipits. The next step is to distinguish between the different species of larks and pipits. That is a more difficult topic and will be covered in future articles!

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July 2016 eBirding Challenge

The challenge in June was to upload 20 no-X, complete checklists of at least 15-minute duration of which at least three lists must document a brood-parasitic cuckoo (seen or heard).

ebirding-challenge-logo-800px-281x300

July may not be the most exciting month of the year for many birders – but birding in the summer/early monsoon can be made more fun with other birders for company! The challenge this month is to upload at least 5 complete checklists of at least 15 minutes duration, from at least five different days. Crucially, each of these lists must be ‘shared’ between three or more birders.

Check out this page to learn more about sharing lists.

When you go birding with your friends, and then upload the lists of species seen, you can ‘share’ the list with those who were on the trip, and then the list of species gets copied into each person’s account (so there is no need for each person to upload their list separately). Once shared, each person can tailor the lists specifically to what s/he saw – deleting missed species, and adding species that the others may not have recorded. In this way, everyone on the trip can keep a faithful record of what they saw.

This list is an excellent example of a shared checklist. Note how you can click on the ‘List’ button to see each individual person’s list. Note also that if you just want to show others your list, you shouldn’t ‘share’ with them; rather, you can simply send them the URL to your list (eg: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S30191358).

In a nutshell:

  1. Go birding with at least 2 other people for at least 15 minutes and make a list of all birds that you saw or heard.
  2. Have one person in the group upload the list of birds seen to eBird
  3. Ask that person to ‘share’ the list with all others who were in the group (each person will get an email; if they don’t already have an eBird account, they will be invited to create one)
  4. All others must accept the shared list into their account
  5. Repeat steps 1-4 on at least 5 different days in July
Birders at Hoskote Lake

Birders at Hoskote Lake, Karnataka © Ravi Viswanathan

Finally, do consider inviting your family and friends for a few birding parties: anyone is welcome to set up an eBird account. Such a social event is also good way to get children interested in birds.

Please upload all your lists by 5 August so that we can announce the results the next day.

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Kerala Bird Monitoring Workshop June 2016

Alappuzha Bird Atlas

An Atlas of the Birds of Alappuzha

For the third year on the run, a one day workshop on Bird Monitoring in Kerala was held at Centre for Wildlife Studies, College of Forestry, Kerala Agricultural University, Thrissur on 12 June 2015 . More 100 birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts, representing various organisations in India participated in the workshop. Participants from Kerala represented Cochin Natural History Society (CNHS), Malabar Natural History Society (MNHS), World Wide Fund for Nature – Kerala (WWF),  Bird Count India, Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF), National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), KeralaBirder, Birdwatchers of Kerala, Hume’s Centre for Ecology & Wildlife Biology, Travancore Natural History Society (TNHS), Rice Research Centre, College of Forestry etc.

Thrissur Bird Atlas

An Atlas of the Birds of Thrissur

This year, delegates from fifteen other states in India joined us as observers under a larger umbrella of Bird Count India titled ‘National Conference of Bird Monitoring through Citizen Science’, of which the Kerala Bird Monitoring Workshop was a part.

The workshop marked the release function of two books – An Atlas of the Birds of Alappuzha and An Atlas of the Birds of Thrissur by Honorable Minister for Agriculture Adv. V.S. Sunil Kumar and the function was presided over by PCCF (HoFF) Dr. B.S. Corrie.

Alappuzha Bird Atlas

Alappuzha Bird Atlas Pages

Thrissur Bird Atlas Pages

Thrissur Bird Atlas Pages

Agenda

09:00-09:30 Introductions, Agenda Review, Review of 2015 Minutes
09:30-10:00 Kerala Bird Atlas: Recap and Results Overview
10:00-10:30 Alappuzha Bird Atlas: Results, Learnings & Concerns
10:30-10:45 Break
10:45-11:15 Thrissur Bird Atlas: Results, Learnings & Concerns
11:15-12:00 eBird Outreach – Recruitment, Stickiness, Hand-holding & Concerns
12:00-14:15 Book Release & Lunch
14:15-15:10 Kerala Bird Atlas: Proto-atlas experience, non-forests & plan for 2016-17
15:30-15:45 CBMP & OBC: Results, Scope & Future
15:45-16:00 Break
16:00-16.25 Heronry Count: Results, Concerns & Future Plans
16:25-16:45 Pelagic Survey: Concerns & Future Plans
16.45-16:55 AWC: Results & Concerns

 

Key Decisions

  • Bird Atlas surveys for the non-forests in six districts in 2016-17.
  • Bird Atlas surveys to be completed in forests in Thrissur district in 2016-17
  • Kerala Bird Atlas Protocol approved for non-forests with minor changes.
  • Pursue birding outreach through regular training and eBird outreach through focussed social networking media.
  • Much greater involvement from KFD in forest surveys to be sought.
  • Improve penetration in other districts to onboard them on to atlas in 2017-20.
  • Continue mass events like CBMP & OBC – involve more coordinated walks than random birding events.
  • Continue heronry monitoring in all districts based on availability of key coordinators.
  • Pelagic surveys during the two migration season (fall & spring) from every district.

Presentations

Press Releases

Various media covered the book release function of Alappuzha & Thrissur Bird Atlas.

Kerala Bird Monitoring Workshop Participants

Kerala Bird Monitoring Workshop Participants

See details of the 2015 Workshop.

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