Sunbird   | Photo Credit: special arrangement

Great Backyard Bird Count 2020 comes to Kerala capital

If you work or live on campus, you could also participate in the Campus Bird Count that is conducted simultaneously with the backyard bird count


If you enjoy birds of the feathered kind, here is your opportunity to be a part of the Great Backyard Bird Count 2020, an all-India activity covering four days that began on Friday.

In addition, if you work or live on campus, you could also participate in the Campus Bird Count that is conducted simultaneously with the backyard bird count. As of now, one of the campuses registered from Thiruvananthapuram is the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research- Thiruvananthapuram (IISER-TVM) at Vithura. Eight other campuses from Kerala are also participating in the count.
Kingfisher in flight   | Photo Credit: MA Sriram

Hema Somnathan, Professor of Ecology at IISER who is coordinating the count on the campus, says there is an active group of birders on the campus and so around 100 of them would be participating in the count on Sunday and Monday.

“We have forested areas on our campus and we would be covering the Jersey Farm in the vicinity too. This is a global event covering 80 countries that is coordinated by Cornell University. So once the count is over, we will be sending the event organisers, eBird, the number of birds and the species we saw during the exercise. The aim is to document the diversity of the avian population. Eventually, we might bring out an e-publication of the birds on our campus,” she explains.

eBird, a global online platform for documenting and maintaining observations of birds, is housed in Cornell University’s Laboratory of Ornithology. By collating the date, eBird helps us understand the distribution of birds and makes this available for public use.

On the spot

   •  Well-known birder Suresh Elamon lists some of the common birds found in almost every backyard in the district in addition to crows.

   •  Different kinds of woodpeckers, kingfisher, crow phesant, white-cheeked barbet, Magpie Robin, Indian cuckoo, shikra, Drongo, Treepie, pigeons, Indian Mynah, Sunbirds, Indian barn owl, spotted owlet and more.

Birds counts help in studying how birds are distributed across the country and understand if there are changes in their movements or living patterns. This can be used to find out how changes in environment affect the birds. eBirds also views the entire exercise as a way to get more people involved in birding.

“This is the time when we also spot a number of migratory birds in different places in the city. For instance, in my house in Peroorkada, I was able to see the Black-naped Oriole, the grey wagtail and the Ashy drongo. Beginners should start at the crack of dawn to watch these birds in our backyard and garden. By 8 am, most of the birds would have left,” explains Sushant, a keen birder and coordinator of Warblers and Waders.