A time to enjoy the birds and Bihu in the air
Bihu Bird Count will be hosted under the banner of Bird Count India from January 14 to 17
By ROOPAK GOSWAMI
Guwahati, Jan. 13: If Spotted Dove was the most commonly sighted species last year at the Bihu Bird Count, which one will be this Bihu?
This is the level of excitement amongst bird watchers as they start sighting birds for the next four days during Bhogali Bihu (January 14-17)
A Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) named Bird Count India (BCI) has been instrumental in hosting several events related to bird documentation across India for the past few years by encouraging field tasks and the use of the global online platform, eBird.
This time too, the Bihu Bird Count will be hosted under the banner of BCI from January 14 to 17.
The initiative emphasizes the use of eBird, a citizen science platform for the birders to register their observations in systematic manner.
Last year, 240 checklists were uploaded in eBird from Assam with 382 species recorded.
Spotted Dove was the most commonly sighted species in 2020, whereas, the presence of a Vulnerable species (according to IUCN) named Lesser white-fronted Goose was particularly interesting as the species had migrated to the land of Assam after several decades.
Bhogali Bihu celebrations
Bihu has been one of the most important festivals for the people of Assam as it represents the celebration of the agricultural cycle of crops.
Of the three primary Bihus (Rongali Bihu, Kati Bihu and Magh Bihu), Magh Bihu or Bhogali Bihu, has its own importance as it marks the celebration of the harvesting of crops.
“It is that time of the year when you are surrounded by misted mornings, cold nights and migrating birds,” said Jaydev Mandal, the local organiser of the event.
“During this season, when the natives of the state enjoy the culture and traditional delicacies, it has been observed that the land of Assam also hosts several migratory bird species from across the globe,” he said.
Participants in Bihu bird count
“ We are getting so many participants from across the state, school kids to seniors bird enthusiasts. Everyone is very keen and looking for a successful event to cover all the districts of Assam while celebrating Magh Bihu in their respective places.
This time the scale is much bigger, better planned and for the first time covers all districts of the state.
Bihu bird count aim to spread awareness
“The programme additionally aims to spread knowledge and awareness on the importance of birds around us, as well as promote the association of the festival with nature,” a birdwatcher said.
Experts say the unique landscape of Assam ranging from flood plains to tropical rain forests has the potential for exploring several avenues of research in the field of ornithology as well as promoting avitourism.
This exercise will lead to better understanding the seasonal and temporal distribution of birds in Assam across different terrains as well as imbibe the sense of attachment towards nature within people.
Bihu bird count process
Bihu Bird Count follows simple steps of documentation. Anyone who is within the state of Assam during the event days is eligible to be a participant.
Firstly, the participants will select the area in which they are interested to pursue bird watching.
Once the area or location is decided by the participants, they will have to watch birds for at least 15 minutes in and around the selected area at any time of the day.
One can go birding as many times they want within these four days.
Secondly, the bird species identified during the event has to be uploaded in eBird by January 31.
All the instructions regarding the Bihu Bird Count are provided in the website and are accessible by anyone interested.