The Big Bird Day (BBD) was held on January 12, with a large number of birdwatchers, or “birders”, and nature lovers showing up for the occasion.
The Hyderabad Birding Pals (HBP), which has been a regular at this event over the last six years, sent around ten teams (each comprising ten birders on an average) to various locations across Telangana. We spoke to a few members at the ICRISAT Campus Lake to chronicle their experience, although we came back a little unsettled with some sad revelations by the birders.
For Fawaz Syed, an interior designer who is participating in the event for the first time, birdwatching equals experiencing nature. Having recently joined HBP, he understands that being patient is the key to capturing the right frame of birds.
“I’d joined HBP because I am a nature lover. I think birdwatching is a great way to learn about birds and their habitats. Our group has spotted around 125 species, which include resident, rare and migratory birds,” explains Fawaz.
The bird vanishing act
Rajeev Khandelwal, General Secretary, Hyderabad Birding Pals, believes birdwatching to be a great way to understanding the significance of birds in the ecosystem, thought it really heartening to see an increasing number of birdwatchers every year.
However, Rajiv lamented at a seeming decline in the number of birds as a result of the urbanisation and decreasing water bodies. “Although we found some interesting species, a few birds commonly found on the lake shores were missing; so the number of birds seem to be going down as compared to the last year,” he says, cautioning, “These are danger signs.”
Srinivas Mulagala, a charted accountant and a senior birder, also enjoyed the day spotting species like Booted Eagle, Marsh Harrier, greater Spotted Eagle, Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, Gadwall, Common Teals, Indian Thick-knee, River Tern, Scaly Brested Munia, Indian Roller, Rufous Tailed Lark and more than 300 Bar-Headed Goose.
“These Bar-Headed Goose cross over Himalayas from Mongolia and Northern Europe and flock in large numbers, making it quite a sight,” says Srinivas excitedly. However, even Srinivas rued at the drop in the number of birds the group had spotted this year. “Rampant urbanisation and encroachment over wetlands has caused winter-migratory birds such as waders and sandpipers to drastically reduce in number. Even the smaller ponds in the ICRISAT campus and the wetlands have dried up, causing the overall number of birds to come down too,” he grieves....