Great Backyard Bird Count–India, 17-20 Feb 2017

The much awaited Great Backyard Bird Count is almost upon us. This year’s GBBC-India will take place on 17-20 February. Over 1,100 birders from India took part in 2016 – uploading 7,900 lists and documenting 785 species in the process. We expect the response to be larger this year!

The annual Campus Bird Count, a sub-event of the GBBC-India, will also take place this year. If you live or work in a campus, do register and participate as well!

For more details about both events, read on.

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Filed under Events, Happenings

Bird Monitoring at Kanha Tiger Reserve

Bird Count India recently gave a presentation about Birdwatching and Bird Monitoring for an audience primarily consisting of Forest Department representatives and Naturalists/Guides at Kanha Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh.

The presentation, delivered by Mike Prince, talked about the whys and hows of birdwatching and discussed the impact that documentation through eBird has had. It highlighted many interesting findings about birds in India, but probably stressed more how little we actually know about lots of our common birds, and how everyone can contribute to filling these gaps in our collective knowledge. What was very reassuring to note was the number of already active eBirders amongst the local naturalists. It’s also worth noting that, whilst using a notebook is almost impossible on a jeep safari, the eBird mobile app was a great success: see one of the checklists from earlier in the day!

It was great to see active participation from the Field Director, Mr Sanjay Shukla, who shared some exciting ideas for the future. In particular he noted that, whilst mammals in Kanha are surveyed regularly and in detail, birds have been relatively neglected. He is keen to set up an extensive bird survey across the entire reserve. The logistics for this will be examined shortly, and we hope to announce dates for the first survey. Volunteer participation will be required, so watch this space (and join the Bird Count India mailing list) if you might be interested.

Swamp Deer, Kanha

Swamp Deer in a Kanha Meadow © Mike Prince



Filed under Happenings

December 2016 eBirders of the month

ebirding-challenge-logo-800px-281x300At the close of the year, how have birders risen to the last monthly challenge of 2016? As with the past two months, we continued with both the regular monthly challenge  and also the new gap-filling challenge.

Before announcing the results, let’s look at the break-up of eBirding in India in December (with previous month in brackets).

Number of birders: 1,095 (1,036)
Number of lists (all types): 10,730 (7,728)
Number of lists (complete, 15min or longer): 8,660 (5,975)
Number of observations: 2.45 lakh (1.90 lakh)

December challenge

The challenge for December was to upload at least 31 eligible birdlists from the month. Of the 1,095 eBirders in December, 39 met or exceeded the target for the month. They are (as always, excluding group accounts):

Ajay Gadikar
Amy Packer
Anish Aravind
Aravind Amirtharaj
Arnold Goveas
Arun M K Bharos
Ashwin Viswanathan
Bhanu Sridharan
B.R. Ansil
Deepthi Chimalakonda
Dhaval Vargiya
Ganeshwar S V
Govind Girija
Harsha Jayaramaiah
Jayadev Menon
Jay Packer
Kiron Vijay
Kulbhushansingh Suryawanshi
Lakshmikant Neve
Madhusudhan Srinivasan
Manju Sinha
Namassivayan Lakshmanan
Panchapakesan Jeganathan
Payal Mehta
Raja Bandi
Rajneesh Suvarna
Ramit Singal
Renju TR
Sahana M
Sanjay Karanth
Sanjiv Khanna
Selvaganesh K
Shanmugam Kalidass
Shereen Chang
Shwetha Bharathi
Steffin Babu
Vidhya Sundar
Vinay Nadig
Wich’yanan “Jay” Limparungpatthanakij

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

Ganeshwar SV

who receives a copy of The Thing with Feathers, by Noah Strycker.

Gap-filling challenge

The gap-filling challenge for December was to upload a minimum of four eligible checklists from any one or more of the 317 Districts that were represented by less than 30 minutes of eBirding in all previous Decembers. A total of 312 complete birdlists of 15 min or longer were uploaded from 57 of the 317 target Districts, by 74 birders. Of these, 18 birders met the target for the gap-filling challenge, and these are listed below, together with names of the districts they uploaded 4 or more lists from):

Ajay Gadikar (MP–Shajapur)
Amy Packer (AR–West Kameng)
Aravind Amirtharaj (TN–Ariyalur)
Chandra Sekhar Bandi (AP–Guntur)
Deepthi Chimalakonda (TS-Karimnagar)
Elavarasan M (TN–Ariyalur)
Firoz Hussain (AR–West Kameng)
Jaswinder Waraich (UP–Saharanpur)
Jay Packer (AR–West Kameng)
Madhusudhan Srinivasan (TS–Karimnagar)
Panchapakesan Jeganathan (AP–Kadapa)
Praveen Kumar (KA–Bidar)
Rajesh Panwar (UL–Pithoragarh)
Sanjiv Khanna (PB–Jalandhar)
Sheela Panwar (UL–Pithoragarh)
Tarun Menon (ML–Jaintia Hills)
Vani Khanna (PB–Jalandhar)
Wich’yanan “Jay” Limparungpatthanakij (AR–West Kameng)

Many thanks to all of them for helping fill eBird gaps in India!

One person from these 18 was chosen using a computer-generated random number to receive a small gift. That person is

Sheela Panwar

who receives a copy of How to be a Bad Birdwatcher by Simon Barnes.

Blue Whistling Thrush in Saharanpur district, UP. Photo by Jaswinder Waraich from this birdlist.

Here is the full list of all 1,095 eBirders from India in December 2016:

Aakash Lamba, Aakash Upadhyay, Aashutosha Lele, abha manohark, Abhijeet Avate, Abhijeet Thosar, abhijith a.p.c, Abhijith surendran, Abhik Das, Abhimanyu Lele, Abhirami C, Abhirami M Jayakumar, Abhiram Sankar, Abhishek Jamalabad, Abhishek Maiya, abhishek ravindra, Abijith Ka, Abinesan S, Abishek Harihar, Able Lawrence, Adithya Bhat, Aditi Paranjape, Adit Nehra , Aditya Banerjee, Aditya K, Aditya Nayak, Adnan Raja, Afshan Husain, Afthab Faisal k, Aidan Fonseca, Ajay Gadikar, Ajay Sahoo, Ajinkya Supekar, Ajit A, Ajit Hota, AJU RAJU, Akhilesh Bharos, Akhilesh Magal, akhil johny, Akshaj Sharma, AKSHAY LONARE, Akshay Mokal, Akshay Onkar, Akshay R, Akshay Surendra, Alacia Welch, Albin Jacob, aleena thomas moor, Alison Huff, Aljo Anand, AMALKRISHNAN.S AND AKASHKRISHNAN.S, Amal U S, AM AMSA, Amar Mulwani, Amatya Sharma, Ambika Pradhan, Ameet Mandavia, Amey Ketkar, Amit Bandekar, Amol Bapat, Amol Lopes, Amol Marathe, Amrit Krishna, AMURTHUR Ramamurthy, Amy Packer, Anandaraj J, Anand Kalinadhabhatla, ANAND Osuri, Anand Pendharkar, Anand Poovakkat, anant pande, Anbu Sundararajan, Ander Buckley, Andy Johnson, Aniketa Kabir, aniket paluskar, Anil kv, Anil Mahajan, Anil Sharma, Aniruddha Ghosh, Aniruddh Naik, anirudh Kamakeri, Anish Aravind, Anisha Velayudhan.K, Anish Mohan Thampi, ankita sinha, Ankit Vikrant, Ankur Goel, Ankur Shah, Ankur Shekdar, Anne Sammis & Eric Gropp, Anoop CR, Anoop King, Anuja Mital, Anuj Gandhe, Anu john, anu juvekar, Anup Chavda, Anup Prakash, Anuradha Krishnan, Anuradha Varma, Anurag Chandak, Anurag Vishwakarma, Aparajita Datta, Aparna K, APARNA NEVE, Appavu Pavendhan, Arabinda Pal, aravinda hr, Aravind AM, Aravind Amirtharaj, Aristo Mendis, Arjun CP, Arjun Dev , Arjun Kannan, Arnab Barua, Arnab Pal, Arnold Goveas, Arpan Ghosh, Arpit Kamat , Arun B, Arun C.G, Arun Chungappally , Arundev G, Arun George, Arun kumar, arun lal, Arun M K Bharos, Arun Prabhu, Arun Singh, Arun Varghese, Arvind Ravi, Arvind vaid, Aryan Pradhan, Arya Vinod, Ashish Babre, Ashish Bhatt, Ashish Jha, Ashish Kothari, Ashis Kumar Pradhan, Ash J, Ashok Kumar, Ashu Singh, Ashutosh Abhyankar, Ashutosh Chirmule, Ashutosh Prasad , ASHUTOSH SRIVASTAVA, Ashwin Baindur, Ashwin Bhat, Ashwini Deosthalee, Ashwini Karangale, ashwin mohan, Ashwin Viswanathan, Ashwin Warudkar, Aswin Nisanth, ATANU MODAK, Athena Georgiou, Athira K Nair, Avik Banerjee, Avinash K Mon, Avinash Sharma, Avinash Yadav, Avishkar Munje, Avneet Antoorkar, Ayan Khanra, Ayush Ankit rajotia , Balaji P B, Balbir Arora, Balwant Negi, Bangalore Waterbird Census 2017, Bela Arora, Bhakti Salgaonkar, Bhanu Prakash, Bhanu Sridharan, Bharath H R, BHARATI CHATURVEDI, Bhaskar pandeti, Bhaskar Sati, Bhavesh Mengar, Bhavesh Rathod, Bhavi K, Biang Syiem, bijumon ke, Biju PB, Bimal Modi, Bimalnath Punnassery, Birder of Telangana, Birdrace Ekm, Bird Snappers, Biswanath Mondal, Bonnie Bompart, B.R. Ansil, Brodie Lewis, Caroline Edge, Catherene Christian, Celina D’Souza, Chaatak Nature Conservation Society, Chandni P, Chandrahas Kolhatkar, Chandra S, Chandra Sekhar Bandi, charles naveen, Charutha K, Chayant Gonsalves, Cheran Jagadeesan, chetan harikishandas joshi, Chethan Rao, Chetna Sharma, chhanda bewtra, Chinmay Rahane, CHINMOY BANERJEE, Chirag Munje, chithrabhanu pakaravoor, Chiti Arvind, Chris Bowden, Cinchona GHS(Group account), CNS Nature, Colin Braganza, college of forestry sirsi, Dakshina Sudhir, Daniel George, Daniel Sloan, Danival santhosh, Darshan Dudhane, David Raju, Dayani Chakravarthy, Debashis Chowdhury, Deb VandenBroek, Deepa Javdekar, Deepak Balasubramanian, deepak dhakad , Deepak Mani Tripathi, Deepa Mohan, deepa vellai, Deepika Karanth, Deepthi Chimalakonda, denzil britto, Deoul Pathak, Desmond Lobo, Deval Kadam, Deval Kadam, Devathi Parashuram, Devii Rao, devi S R, Dhananjai Mohan, dhananjay bhamburkar, Dhaval Vargiya, dhiren malani, Dhiren Meshvaniya, Dhyey Shah, Dilip K G, Dinesh gaonkar, Dinesh kumar, Dinesh Pundir, Dinesh Singal, Dipu Karuthedathu, Divin Murukesh, Divya Mudappa, Divyesh Ghervada, Douglas Ball, Dr.Dr.hetal Shah, Dr George P J, Dr. Jayant Wadatkar, Dr.Krishna kumar. V, Dr, Rahul Patil, Dr. Ravi M, Dr Sumit Chakrabarti, Dr Vivek Dubey, Elavarasan M, Elrika D’Souza, Emanuel george , Enakshi Bhattacharya, Ezhupunna Birders (group account) , Ezra Rynjah, Faiz Bux, Falk Huettmann, Fareed Mohmed, fermin jose, Firoz Hussain, Fishing Cat Conservancy, forest venkat, Gaja mohanraj, Galibore JLR, Ganesh Datar, Ganesh R Mandavkar, Ganeshwar S V, Garima Bhatia, Gaurab Talukdar, Gaurang Bagda, Gaurav Madhopuri, Gaurav Pandey, Gaurav Patil, Gauri Achari, Gautam Krishnan, Gavin Emmons, GBCN Goa, geeta goswami, Geetha Venkataraman, Geoff Butcher, Gillian Wright, Gireesan TU, Girish Jathar, GirishMohan P K, Gnanaskandan Kesavabharathi, Gokul Vadivel, Gollala Benakanalli, Gopalakrishna R, gopal prasad, Gopi Krishna, GOVIND GIRIJA, Gowrisankar M, Gowthaman K.a, Gowthama Poludasu, Gowtham Radhakrishnan, G Parameswaran, great gray owler , greeshma paleeri, Guhan Sundar, Guru Raj, Hamidha Shabeer, Hari Krishna Adepu, Harikrishnan S, hari kumar, HARI MAVELIKARA, Harish Chandra, HARISH K, Harman Kour, Harpal singh, Harshada Kulkarni, Harsha Jayaramaiah, harsha nr, Harsha Prabhakar, Harsha Vardhan, Harshavardhan Jamakhandi, Harsh Buty, Harshil Shah, Harshith JV, Harshit Singh, HARSHJEET BAL, Harshvardhan Rajawat, Helen Larson, Hemali Dave Upadhyay, Hemal Naik, Hemant Dhadnekar, Hemanth Byatroy, Hemant Kirola, Hemanya Radadia, HG Prashanthakumar, Himadri Banerjee, himanshu tembhekar, Hiren Patel, Hiren Yagnik, Hitesh Chawla, Hopeland P, Hrishikesh Wandrekar, Husein Latif, Hyderabad Birding Pals, IBIS Andril, Indira Srinivasan, Induchoodan A Sreedharan, Irene Daniel, irvin calicut, Isheta divya, Ismail Smile, Jadeswamy Madaiah, Jagadeesan Krishnan , Jagrut Rindani, Jaichand Johnson, Jaiganesh Balakrishnan, Jake Mohlmann, Jamaludheen Karivelil, Jameela Parampatt, James Williams, Janet Bodle, Janhavi Rajan, Janhvi Vyas, Jaswinder Waraich, Jayadev Menon, jayakanth sunil, jayakrishnan mannar, Jayakrishnan U, Jaya krishnan VK,IFS, Jayan Thomas, jaya peter, Jaya rakesh Kannan, Jaydev Mandal, Jayesh Ghanekar, Jay Packer, Jaywant Karajgikar, Jeetendra Chaware, Jeffrey Davis, Jessica Luis, Jeyakumar Johnson, Jigu Patel, Jincy Justin j.k., Jitendra Jha, jithesh pai, Jithin Gopakumar, Job Joseph, Johara Shahabuddin, John Daniel, Jomon Koshy, Jonathan Meyrav, Jorgen Thomsen, Joseph Thadeus, José Tavares, joshua Dsilva, joydip mukherjee, Judith Heyer, Julie & Dave Robinson-Ruffle, Jyothish Nelson, Kaajal Dasgupta, Kadambari Devarajan, Kahini Chilukuri, Kailashh Hirdode, Kalaimani Ayuthavel , Kalai Selvan, Kalpalata Rajan, Kalyan Ramakrishna Chowdary Vundavalli, Karan Tambe, Karthikeyan G B, Karthikeyan Ponnambalamoorthy, Karthikeyan S, Karthik Teegalapalli, Kartik Mundargi, Karunakanth Bathula, Karunakar Rayker, Kashyap R, Kausthubh K Nair, Kaustubh Rau, Kavi Nanda, Kavin SG, Kedar Champhekar, Kedar Dhepe, Kerala Coast Editor, Kerala High Range Editor, Kerala Midland Editor, Kerala North Mountains Editor, Kerala South Mountains Editor, Kerala Thattekkad Editor, Ketaki Deshpande, Ketan Shah, Kingshuk Senlaskar , Kingsley David, Kiran bagade, kiran more, Kiran Purandare, Kiron Vijay, Kishore Kumaran S, Kishore P, K Karnad, Koka Mrutyumjaya Rao, Kole Birders, Komal Agrawal, Kranti Singh, Kris Goeteyn, Krishnamoorthy Muthirulan, Krishna Murthy, Krishnamurthy Vijaykumar, Krishnapriya Tamma, Krti Tallam, K.Sravan Kumar, Kulbhushansingh Suryawanshi, Kuldeep Chaudhari, Kuldeep Deshpande, Kumar RR, kushal adaki, Kushal Kulkarni, kuttettan munnar, Lakshmikant Neve, lakshmipathi ks, Lalit Kumbhare, Latha Prabhakaran, Lekshmi Jayakumar, Lekshmi R, Leonard Rebello, Lingaraja Venkatesh, Lloyd Fernandes, Logan Derderian, Madhavi Rangaswamy, Madhura Niphadkar, Madhurima Das, madhushri mudke, Madhusudhan Srinivasan, Magesh Ram, Mahesh madhu, Mahesh Nikam, MAITREYA SUKUMAR, Mallika Rajasekaran, Malyasri Bhattacharya, Mamta Parmar, Manan Singh Mahadev, Mandar Bhagat, Maneesh Kunte, Maneet Pal Singh, Mangesh Prabhulkar, Mangesh Tayde, Manidip Mandal, Manish Arya, manish kerkar, Manjula Ravi, Manju Sinha, Manohara Kamath, Manoj Bind, Manoj Karingamadathil, manoj p g, Manu Gowda, Marissa Menezes, Marta Curti, Marvelyn Dias, Mathew Joseph, Mathew Thomas, Maulik Varu, Max Breckenridge, MAXIM RODRIGUES K, mayuresh khatavkar, M D Madhusudan, Md Shafi, Meaghan Conway, Mebin Varghese, Meghamala Nugehally, Melvin Jaison, Michael Bird, Mich Coker, Mihir Barve, Mike Lu, Mike Prince, Mike Wheeler, Milan Sojitra, Milind Ganatra, Mini ANTO, Miraj Hussain, Misha Bansal, Mittal Gala, Mohak Katvi, Mohamed Salman, mohammed hirash, Mohammed Sayeer, Mohandas Giriyappa, Mohanraj T, Mohit Aggarwal, Mohith Shenoy, Mohit Joshi, Mohit Mehta, Mohit Sahu, Monica Kaushik, Mou Jana, Moumita Chakraborty, Mousumi Ghosh-Harihar, mridul anand, Mrinmayee Thakur, M S, MS Raghunath, Mudit Bhatnagar, Mugdha Singh, mujeeb pm, Mukesh Sehgal, Mukundan Kizhakkemadham, Mulagala Srinivas, Mumbai Birdwatchers, Murali Madhava P.S , Murtuza Hussain Abrar, Murugesh Natesan, Muskan Chawla, Muthu Narayanan, M V BHAKTHA, Mytheeswaran T, Nabarun Sadhya, Nagappan R, Nagesh Kamath, namassivayan lakshmanan, Nameer PO, Nandan Maheshwari, nanda ramesh, Narayanan Anantharaman, Narender Khaira, NARESH G, Naresh Vadrevu, naseer parayil, Natalia i Krzysztof Cyluk, NaveenKumar Ganugapenta, Naveen Sama, Nawal Ahuja, Nayan Thanki, Neel Gadikar, Neeraj Amarnani, Neeraja T, Neha Waikar, Nelson George, netra prasad sharma, Nigil Haroon, Nihal Reddy, Nikhil Bhabhe, Nikhil Dandekar, Nikhil Patwardhan, Nikita Khamparia , Ninad Raote, Niranjan A, Niranjana C, Niranj Vaidyanathan, Nirmala Thomas, Nisargavedh Dhule, Nisha Bhakat, Nishant Shah, nishith Kumar, Nithish Reddy, Nitin Kapoor, Nitin Prabhakar, Nitin Tomer, Nivedita Kotharé, N Mahathi , N Sethi, Omkar Dharwadkar, omkar naik, OMKAR PRABHUNE, P.A.Anish Elanad, padmakar pimpalkar, Padmanav Kundu, padma ramaswamy, Palani Andavan Balasubramanian, Pallab Prakash Saikia, Pallavi Singh, Pamela Clark, Pam Rasmussen, Panchami Manoo Ukil, Panchapakesan Jeganathan, PANKAJ GUPTA, Parag Sakpal, paresh gosavi, Parikshit Khisty, Parvaiz Shagoo, PARVATHY AS, Paul Buckley, Paul deNiverville, Paul Ode, Pavan Ramachandra, PAWAN DARNE, Pawan Dhall, Payal Mehta, P. B. Samkumar, Phalgun Patel, Phani krishna Ravi, Polly Kalamassery, Poojan Gohil, pooja pawar, P.P. SUKUMARAN, Prabhakar Manjunath, Prabhanjan Behera, Prachi Galange, Prachi Thatte, PRADEEP KM, PRADEEP KUMAR V B, Pradeep Nair, pradeep Rana, Pradheep J, Pragna Swaroop, Prajval Shastri, Prakash G, Pramod PV, Pramod Venkatesh murthy , Prasad JN, Prasad Natarajan, Prasad Rao C M, Prasanna Deshmukh, Prasanna Gautam, Prasanna Kumar Mamidala, prashant bhagat, PRASHANT FUTANE, Prashant Hulamani, Prashant Kumar, Prashant Pimpalnerkar, Prashant Tewari, Prathamesh Desai, PRATHAMESH JOSHI, Prathamesh Tiwari, Praveen es, Praveen J, Praveen Kumar, Praveen Manivannan, praveen shenoy, Praveen Tammy, Premchand Reghuvaran, Prem Prakash Garg, Prithivi Raj S, Pritish Behera, PRITPAL PANJETA, Priyadarshini K, Priyal Shah, Priyanka Bhagyavant, Priyanka Das, priyanka ss, Pugazendhi Panchatcharam, Punit Lalbhai, Punit Mehta, Pushkar Chaubal, Pushpa C R, Pushpa P, Rachna Gujral, Raghavendra Kalal, Raghavendra Mukundarao, Raghu Nathan, Raghu Prasanth, Raghurama Hegde, Raghuvanshi Rajesh, Rahul Jawalge, Rahul Kumar, Rahulkumar Nimat, Rahul Matmari, rahul menonr, rahul narlanka, Rahul Paranjape, Rahul Shah, Rahul Sonawane, Rahul Wakare, Raimund Barth, Raja Bandi, Rajaneesh Ghadi, Rajarajan V, Rajashree Khalap, Raja Simma Pandiyan, Rajdeep Mitra, Rajendra Gadgil, Rajesh Balakrishnan, Rajesh Ballakoor, Rajesh Bhatt, Rajesh Kalra, Rajesh Nair, rajesh n nayak, Rajesh Panwar, rajesh poojary, Rajesh Radhakrishnan, Raji J Mohan J Mohan, Rajinikanth Kasthuri, Rajiv D’Silva, Rajkumar A, RajKumar Murugan, Rajneesh Suvarna, Raju Kasambe, Raju Kidoor, Ramakrishna Tummanapelly, Rama Neelamegam, Ramanjinaiah v Siddu, Raman Kumar, Ramanujam Mahadevan Srinivasan, Ramesh Iyer, Ramesh Shenai, Ram Gopalakrishnan, Ramit Singal, Ramnarayan K, ramraj s, Ram Vikas, Ramya C, Rana Choudhuri, raphy kallettumkara, Rathish RL, Ravi Aital, Raviraj Savio Rodrigues, Rayan Pradeep, Rayees Rahman, REEF RCOEM, Regin George, Remco Steggerda , Renjan Mathew Varghese, renju tr, renuka Vijayaraghavan, Rhys Marsh, Rich Kostecke, Rinto Abraham, Rish Dharwadkar, Ritesh Dighe, Ritesh Sharma, Rithikha Kalidos, Ritobroto Chanda, Ritvik Singh, RK Balaji, Robert Clark, robert hirst, Rofikul Islam, Rohan Chakravarty, Rohidas Revankar, Rohit Chakravarty, Rohit Charpe, Rohit Hirway, Rohith Srinivasan, Rohit Mudadi, Rohit Naniwadekar, Rojin V, Ronit Dutta, Roshan Kamath, Rudraksha Chodankar, Rujuta Phadke, Ruma Sinha, Rushil Fernandes, Ryan Rodrigues, sabarish kumar.p.r, sabeer ali, SACHIN KRISHNA M V, Sachin Main, Sachin Sharma, Saddam Husain Lodha, Sahana M, Sahas Barve, Sahil Rastogi, sahithya selvaraj, sajeesh radhakrishnan, Sajeev Krishnan, sakthi manickam, sakthi pp, Samanyu Neelson, Sameer Neve, Samiran Jha, Samir Jain, Samyak Kaninde, Samyukth Sridharan, Sanchit Mishra, Sandeep Sathyan, Sandhya Lenka, sandip das, Sandip Das, sangeeta joshi, Sangita Mani, Saniya Chaplod, Sanjay Karanth, Sanjay Malik, Sanjay Sondhi, Sanjeeva Nayaka, sanjeev Dhar, Sanjeev Goyal, SANJEEV SHEVADE, Sanjib Acharya, Sanjiv Khanna, sanju majumder, Santanu Manna, Santharam V, Santhosh Kshathriya , santhosh kumar, Santhosh Pavagada, Santhosh R, santosh thakur, Saptarshi Roy Choudhuri, Saraju Dash, Sarath Chandran, Sarrah Reshamwala , Sashi Kumar, sasidharan manekkara, Saswat Mishra, Sathisha CH, Satya Chilukuri, Satypal Singh, Saurabh Agrawal, Saurabh Jawanjal, Saurabh Sawant, Saurav Dutta, Savio Fonseca, Savithri Singh, Selvaganesh K, Senan D’Souza, Shah Jahan, Shaji Mohan, Shakti vel, Shakuntala Kariyappa , Shanmugam Kalidass, Shanmugam Saravanan, Shanmukharaja Muroor, Shantanu Choudhary, shantilal Varu, Sharad Apte, sharmila Abdulpurkar, sharmila deo, Sharmilee Rajagopalan, Shashank Birla, Shashank dalvi, Shashikant S. Naik, sheeba nanjan, sheeja vr, Sheela Panwar, Sheena S, SHEKHAR BOPARDIKAR, Shereen Chang, Sherjin Joel, shino jacob koottanad, Shirley Vere, shishir shendokar, Shishupala S, Shivangi Jain, Shivashankar Manjunatha, Shivi Mishra, Shrikant Badave, Shrikanth nayak, Shriranjani L . Iyer, Shruthi Sudhakaran, Shubham Gautam, Shubham S, Shubha Nava, Shwetha Bharathi, Shyamkumar SOWNDARARAJAN, Shylajesha S, Sibin Thomas, Siddharth Kallam, Sita Susarla, Sivadas Chettur, Sivaguru Noopuran PRS, Sivakumar AK, Sivakumar R, Sivakumar S, Sivakumar SS, Sivakumar Swaminathan, Sivashankar Ramachandran, Siva T, Siyad A Karim , S K. 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NAIK, Vivek Puliyeri, Vivek Rawat, Vl Hriatzuala Sailo, Vridhi R, vrinda lath, Wesley Rajaleelan, Wich’yanan “Jay” Limparungpatthanakij, Win Sim Tan, Wriju Ray, Yagnesh Desai, Yajuvendra Upadhyaya, yogendra hs, Yogesh Parashar, Yogesh Patel, Yogish Holla, Yousaf olavilam

Are you doing your best to match the target for January (25 eligible birdlists, ideally with media uploaded)? And do remember that we have a new set of there is also a set of yearlong challenges for 2017 to bird towards!

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Slashes and Spuhs

All of us love birds and identifying them. Part of the joy of birding is to be able to correctly put a name to a bird based on observations and features noted in the field. However, as one birds more, one also accepts that it is not always possible to identify every bird one encounters.

We often hear a call or a note that we cannot identify. Or a song from one bird that sounds strikingly similar to another’s but is difficult to tell apart unless the bird is seen. Sometimes, we only catch a glimpse of a bird – able to assign it to a family, but not to a species level. Or as is often the case with large wetlands, see a flock of birds in the distance – but without any way of identifying them to species!

Waterfowl taking to the wing on a foggy morning – the low visibility making it very difficult to identify most of the birds in the flock © Ramit Singal

In the past, when making trip reports and lists, these birds that were left unidentified were often not included. However, not including them in the lists does not mean that the birds weren’t there. Thus, to see 1 or 1000 (or more, as the case may be) birds that cannot be identified but not record them (in spite of them being there) can lead to the inaccurate documentation that the birds were not there at all.

To counter this problem when reporting species or birds, eBird presents us with the option of using a slash or a spuh. A slash provides you the option of picking between two or three similar-looking species, while a spuh is used where species level ID is not possible.

Where do we use a slash?

Pallid and Montagu’s Harriers often use the same roosting site and when in numbers and in fading light, are difficult to tell apart. Here a Pallid/Montagu’s Harrier slash is appropriate. © Noah Strycker (Checklist)

A slash is most useful when you can narrow down the ID of your bird to 2 or 3 similar species, but can’t distinguish between them. For example, in many parts of the country, the Booted/Sykes’s Warbler slash is very useful where positive identification is not possible.

Listen to Malabar Barbet and Coppersmith Barbet. Both sound very similar (the sonograms are similar too!) and the Malabar/Coppersmith Barbet slash is used regularly where ranges overlap.

Where do we use a spuh?

A spuh is used when a bird could not be IDed to species level but was positively identified to some other rank. It could be a glimpse of a small raptor through a woodland, where you could ID it to genus level – maybe an accipiter sp. Or maybe a group of ducks and/or geese in the distance, where you could use “waterfowl sp (anatidae sp)” to indicate that you were able to identify the birds to a family level. Or an unidentified melodious song in the forest – where one can say it belongs to a “passerine sp.” but may not be able to identify it further. Or the most basic of the lot – “bird sp.“, for when you have no further clue other than that the creature you heard or saw or felt was a bird!

A large, but distant, flock of parakeets in Assam. Here, parakeet sp would be appropriate to use © Ramit Singal

Why are slashes and spuhs useful?

There are two major reasons why slashes and spuhs are useful. One of them is that when a bird is seen or heard but not identified – to not report it would be the equivalent of saying that you did not see it. Especially when birds may be present too far but in large numbers (such as waterfowl or shorebirds), to report them as 2000 waterfowl sp or as 2000 shorebird sp may be very useful from a conservation point of view than not reporting them at all or worse, reporting them incorrectly.

Shorebird concentrations, such as this, need to be documented even if the species cannot be identified © Prathamesh Desai (Checklist)

A second advantage is that the presence of slashes and spuhs takes off the pressure from the birder to compulsorily put an ID to a bird, even when in doubt. We have all felt this pressure, to write down a species name, even if we weren’t completely sure. In such cases, writing down a spuh or a slash is often the best way forward.

Do note that spuhs and slashes do not add to your overall lists (like life lists, year lists, etc) in terms of numbers but are a very useful feature on eBird to ensure that on each birding trip, no bird goes unreported.

Each year, eBird updates its taxonomy and introduces (or removes) various slashes and spuhs. If you have any questions or comments regarding the existing spuhs and slashes, or want to suggest adding some – please do leave a comment below.

You can view the existing spuhs and slashes which are relevant to India by downloading this file (.xls format).


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Tamil Birders’ Meet 2016

The third Tamil Birders’ Meet was held at PSN College of Engineering and Technology, Tirunelveli, on 12 and 13 November 2016, with about 150 participants.

A number of talks were presented, including on Wetlands of Kanyakumari district by Dr. Robert Grubh, Birding in Tamil Nadu by S. Theodore Baskaran and Status of Vultures in Tamil Nadu by Bharathidasan. There were sessions on bird identification, sketching birds, bird games for school students, Tamil poems on birds, and poster presentations. The upcoming Pongal Bird Count 2017 was also discussed.

Click on the image below for a full report (pdf on google drive).

You can read more about the Tamilbirds group here.

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