More than 82 species of birds were spotted and recorded in the first-ever bird survey conducted at Ralamandal Sanctuary in Indore on Sunday. From the fastest bird – and in fact the fastest animal on Earth, Peregrine Falcon to striking birds like Indian White-Eye Buzzard were spotted in the sanctuary.
Peregrine falcon soars to a great height and then dives steeply at speeds of over 200 miles (320 km) per hour.
Sharing the details about the bird survey, divisional forest officer (DFO) Dr Kiran Bisen said, “We had made five trails to conduct the survey in Ralamandal that began early morning on Sunday.” She added that more than 82 birds were identified in the survey.
“People of various backgrounds, naturalist, bird watchers, conservationist, engineers, zoologist, Indian Army officers of Brigadier rank and professors participated in the survey and helped the forest department in identification and recording of various bird species in the sanctuary,” Bisen said.
“We made five teams with five to six bird watchers in each, who surveyed the birds in the sanctuary,” Bisen said. She added that since the sanctuary is not too large, the survey was complete in a day.
Forest ranger Akanksha Khatekar said, “Before the survey, we knew of 23 species of birds commonly seen in the sanctuary.”
“Blue-Capped Rock Thrush, Long Build Pipit, Jungle Nightjar and Short-Toed Snake Eagle are some of the striking bird species spotted in the sanctuary,” Shrikhant Kalamkar, birdwatcher, said.
“Bird surveys are providing much-required know-how about the avifauna of the region so that necessary conservation actions can be implemented,” Ajay Gadikar, who was among the bird watchers, said. He added that data collection is essential.
“Documentation part is most essential, as we can see from the example of birdman of India Dr Salim Ali,” Gadikar said.
“Madhya Pradesh is a stronghold of many critically endangered species of vultures, the endangered Lesser Florican, Black-Bellied Tern, Forest Owlet and other vulnerable species like the Indian Skimmer, Sarus Crane etc. Effective conservation planning can only be done based on a sound knowledge of the species, sites, and habitats that need protection,” Gadikar said.
He added that despite birds being one of the most widely distributed living organisms; there is still substantial gap in our knowledge of their distribution, abundance, and seasonality.
Brigadier Arvind Yadav, Ravi Sharma, Akhil Hardia, Vipul, Anuparag Chhajlani, Swapanil Phanse, Ritesh Khabia, Sachin Matka were some other birdwatchers who helped in spotting and recording the species.