September workshops

As part of our efforts to reach out to birders and birding groups across the country, Bird Count India conducts workshops about bird listing and monitoring. In the last 10 months, we have conducted such workshops in a variety of places, including Gujarat, Maharastra, West Bengal, Sikkim, Assam and Mizoram.

Workshop participants at Ahmedabad, 9 Feb 2015. Organized by BCSG. Photo courtesy Kartik Shastri.

Workshop participants at Ahmedabad, 9 Feb 2015, organized by BCSG. Photo courtesy Kartik Shastri.

Three such workshops are scheduled for September 2015.

  • Bhaderwah
    Dates: 19th and 20th September 2015
    Venue: University of Jammu, Bhaderwah Campus
    Details: 2-day event with workshop on eBird and hands-on training on bird monitoring.
    Contact person: Neeraj Sharma, University of Jammu, Bhaderwah Campus (Email: nirazsharma@gmail.com)
  • Srinagar
    Date: 22nd September 2015
    Venue: To be finalised
    Details: Informal meeting with members of the birding club of Srinagar to talk to them about eBird and give a live demonstration
    Contact person: Dr. Riyaz Ahmed (Email: riyaz@ncf-india.org)
  • Delhi
    Date: 26th or 27th September 2015
    Venue: Aravalli Biodiversity Park
    Details: 3-4 hour workshop on eBird and bird monitoring
    Contact person: Dr. Surya Prakash, Jawaharlal Nehru University (Email: jnu.surya@gmail.com)

The general theme of our workshops is ‘Birding to make a difference’, that is, how we can continue doing the birding we enjoy, while at the same time ensure that our sightings contribute towards a better understanding of the birds we all love. We talk about eBird and we all can use the platofrm to document their own birding adventures. We also discuss small projects that birding groups can carry out – for example, to monitor birds at specific sites (eg. Important Bird Areas) through regular listing and counting; to document migration and breeding seasonality, and possibly even to make a bird atlas for their city/region. Where possible, we do a short bird walk before or after the workshop.

If you are interested in organizing such a workshop where you live, please do get in touch.

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Vulture Day: 5 Sept 2015

Internatonal Vulture Awareness Day is the first Saturday of every September, which is this year is 5th September. (The vulture day website is here.)

To mark this event, we have produced a series of five ‘slides’ with factlets about vultures, their decline and its causes, what is being done to help them, and what you can do.

Please feel free to copy these slides and share them with your friends and colleagues, and across social media. And do consider holding some kind of vulture awareness programme on or around Saturday the 5th. Drop us a line in comments if you intend to do this; we can help by sending you material (videos, presentations) to use.

 

Vulture-tidbits-1

 

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Vulture-tidbits-5

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September 2015 eBirding Challenge: sharing lists

challenge-logo-2015Over the past few months, we have alternated between relatively easy and more difficult challenges. Last month’s challenge was a fairly easy one for regular birders: to upload at least 20 complete lists. The list of birders meeting this target will surely be a long one!

Which means that it’s time for a more difficult challenge. The September challenge is all about sharing. But this is sharing in the eBird sense, not the Facebook sense!

When you go birding with your friends, and then upload the list of species seen, you can then ‘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 list specifically to what s/he saw — deleting missed species, and adding species that others may not have seen. In this way, everyone on the trip can keep a faithful record of what they saw.

Note that you should only ‘share’ a list with those who were birding with you! To just show the list to someone else, copy and paste the unique link, which looks like this http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S24548303 . Note how you can click to see each individual person’s list. More details about checklist sharing are here.

The challenge

With that background, on to the September challenge, which is to be part of at least 3 separate birdlists, each of which is shared among at least 8 people who went birding together. Note also that the 3 lists should be from different days.

For example, if I go birding with 7 other people on the 6th, 13th and 20th of Sept; and each time the list is shared among all of them, then I’ve met the target.

As with most of our challenges, to qualify for this, lists must be effort-based, complete, and of at least 15 min in durationicon_tooltip. But do remember that the lists must be ‘shared’ (and must be ‘accepted’ into the other accounts) for them to be eligible. In bullets:

  1. Go birding with at least 7 other people
  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 3 different days in September

(If this explanation isn’t clear, please drop us a line in the comments, below!)

DelhiBirders at Yamuna Khadar, Delhi -- Photo by Tapas Misra-800px

Birders at Yamuna Khadar, Delhi. Photo by Tapas Misra.

How to go about this challenge?

If you belong to a birding group that goes out regularly, it shouldn’t be hard to meet the target. Make sure everyone has an eBird account, and at the end of each birding session one person can upload the list and then share with all others in your birding party. Each person can then edit their copy as described above.

Or, if you are part of a natural history or conservation organization, even though not focussed on birds, you could get your colleagues together for some birding sessions. Remember that you need not necessarily go someplace far for such a session — anywhere that you can see and hear birds is fine!

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 October so that we can announce the results on 6 October. All birders who reach the target will be named and recognized on this website. One of these names will be chosen at random to receive a small birding-related gift in appreciation.

Bonus challenge: largest shared list

In addition to the main challenge, described above, here is a bonus: every person on the largest shared checklist during the month of September will receive a small token prize. Largest is not counted in terms of number of species; but rather in terms of the number of people who went birding together and with whom the birdlist is shared. Again, eligible lists will be complete, effort-based, and 15 min or more in duration.

 

Here are the general rules of our monthly challenges. You can keep track of fresh lists coming in from India at this page.

Important. if you are new to eBird, please read this description first, and do take a look at the Beginner’s Guide.

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Onam Bird Count this weekend

OCB-2015-KingfisherBird Count India is proud to be a partner in the upcoming Onam Bird Count, 28-31 August 2015.

The Onam Bird Count is part of the twice-yearly series of bird counts conducted across the state of Kerala. Kerala’s Common Bird Monitoring Programme takes place in Feb each year (since 2014) and, roughly 6 months later comes the Onam Bird Count in Aug/Sept (also since 2014).

These programmes provide an opportunity for birders across the Kerala to go out and document the birds of their region. The activity combines the fun of birdwatching with the serious goal of providing a regular snapshot of the birdlife of Kerala. To ensure that it’s fun, these Counts are quite flexible: you can go birding anywhere in the state, including around your home and neighbourhood, over a period of four days. But since there is also a more serious objective, birders are asked to divide up their counts into 15-minute intervals and maintain a separate list for each such interval. This allows lists from different parts of the state to be compared with each other.

All lists should please be uploaded to eBird India as soon as possible after the event ends. A summary of results will be made available soon after. You can see a summary of the 2014 Onam Bird Count here.

OnamBirdCount2014-results

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eBird India portal launched

Banner and main menu of the eBird India portal

Banner and main menu of the eBird India portal

We are very happy to announce the launch of the eBird India portal today. More and more birders from India are using eBird to maintain their bird sightings and to run local or regional projects. But until now, the content available on the eBird site has not been customized for an Indian audience.

Luckily, eBird has a way to create regional portals that can be managed by regional partners. There are a large number of such portals already, and Bird Count India is proud to now bring you an India portal to join them!

The India portal will carry news and features about eBirding in India, and also has a few design tweaks that make it more useful for Indian birders. For these reasons, we encourage Indian birders to use ebird.org/india as the landing page for eBird from now on. And do subscribe to updates via email or RSS to stay informed about the latest on the portal.

The Bird Count India website will continue to exist. Bird Count India has a larger mandate to encourage listing and monitoring of birds in order that we collectively get a better idea of bird distribution, abundance, and change. So these larger efforts will continue to be featured on the Bird Count India site; while the eBird India portal will focus more narrowly on eBird-specific items. There will, of course, be a fair amount of cross-talk and linking between the sites since the two efforts complement each other!

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