With rare avifauna like Lesser Cuckoo and Brown Wood Owl, the fifth Karnala Bird Count sees 109 species of birds

Due to the extended monsoon, the number of birds recorded this year is less than the previous year.

Amit SrivastavaUpdated: Thursday, November 03, 2022, 02:04 PM IST
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Lesser Cuckoo | Ramesh Shenai: Naturalist

Navi Mumbai: The Karnala Birds Sanctuary (KBS) in Panvel jointly with Green Works Trust (GWT) and Maharashtra Forest Department (MFD) have noted down 109 species of birds in a bird survey activity carried out between October 28 to October 30. In this activity, it was the fifth time when common citizens were involved in the official bird count activity. The Karnala bird sanctuary is located at 10 kms from Panvel in the Raigad district.

Two presence of two rareky-seen birds, Lesser Cuckoo and Brown Wood Owl was also recorded during the survey, in which 30 participants from five states took part. In addition, Mottled Wood Owl, Indian Scops Owl, and Yellow-browed Warbler were also seen in the bird count activity.

Founder of GWT Nikhil Bhopale, a wildlife expert and conservationist from Navi Mumbai said that the fifth Karnala Bird Count activity was carried out to study the avifauna of Karnala Bird Sanctuary. He added that it was a unique experience working with bird experts on scientific bird count in the forest.

The number of birds recorded this year is lesser due to monsoon

Due to the extended monsoon, the number of birds recorded this year is less than the previous year. Last year, during the bird count, a total of 121 species of birds were recorded.

“This year, due to cold weather, we have spotted fewer birds, reptiles and butterflies,” said Bhopale. Apart from 109 species of birds, the teams also recorded other fauna like butterflies, moths, reptiles, amphibians, mammals, spiders, other insects and more. “They recorded 9 species of mammals, 13 species of reptiles, 5 species of amphibians and 37 species of butterflies,” informed Bhopale.

The Karnala Bird Count is a Citizen Science initiative

The Karnala Bird Count is a Citizen Science initiative and a long-term bird monitoring programme and collects data that contributes the awareness and conservation of the important habitats of this Sanctuary. “The objective of carrying out the bird count, including common citizens and bird lovers, is to inform them about the importance of biodiversity. The event has been conceptualized by GWT in association with the MFD. It has a two-fold benefit—Scientific study of birds and Citizen awareness,” said Bhopale.

Samar Ahmed, Student of Wildlife Conservation and Management, Mumbai University said, "It was a wonderful learning experience while working with a diverse group. There are challenges during the trail. But, under the guidance of GWT, it became easy for participants."

Method of counting:

Normally, the survey is conducted using two types of bird count sampling methods viz. Line Transect and Point Counts.

In Line Transact, teams move forward 500 meters (best straight if possible) and record birds 20 meter both left and right side. The distance should be from 45 minutes to one hours.

Under the Point Counts, birders stand at one point for 10 minutes and count birds in 20 meters of radius.

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