Hyderabad: The Great Backyard Bird Count, conducted in February, that comprised nearly 8,000 bird lists has thrown up a surprising result after the scores were tallied.
Most of the bird species were found to be resilient and adaptive to environment changes. The common myna was the top species in the country and the only bird to be noted in all the four regions.
Bird lovers say that it is a recent addition; as a territorial bird, the myna’s instincts have helped it adapt to urbanisation. While the Indian pond heron was earlier available on the list, it has disappeared due to increased urbanisation.
Avid birder Sarath Nedilmulath said, “We have seen many surprising additions in the list. Every year, the results throw up new names but a few constants remain. The myna was the most spotted species by birders this year and we will be keeping an eye out.”
While house crows topped the list in the south, many said crows and sparrows are not common anymore. “Sparrows are not seen because of urbanisation. The loss of habitat has affected this species the most. Pigeons are restricted to urban centres. Rural area sightings do not mention them. Our commonly sighted birds from yesteryears are not being featured in birders’ lists and the root cause can be attributed to habitat loss,” says Mr Nedilmulath.
A few bird lovers said that the list cannot be treated as the final authority as many birds were seasonal. Mr Sumit K. Sen, a frequent birder said, “Thirteen years back, I had bird count with more than 200 lists and the pond heron featured in it. Most birds are seasonal and the bird count is restricted to one area. That is not completely accurate.”
“Although it needs to be conducted to raise awareness, the list should have a disclaimer that it is restricted to certain areas and the season,” he said.
Experts say that the house crow found in most of the lists would perhaps not feature in lists of rural areas. The backyard bird count participants are asked to spend at least 15 minutes in their backyard and try to observe bird species. People were asked to keep out water bowls and set up feeders to attract birds.
The goal was to create a real time snapshot of where the birds are. Maximum participation was seen from the southern region and the most birds were noted in northern and northwestern and western regions....