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March 4, 2024

India’s Backyard Bird Count Records Remarkable Diversity: Over 1000 Species Identified

India’s bird enthusiasts celebrated a remarkable achievement as the country’s Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) for 2024 documented an impressive diversity of avian species, with over 1,000 species identified during the four-day citizen science initiative. Bird watchers from every state and union territory participated in this endeavor, collectively uploading more than 61,000 bird checklists onto the ‘ebird’ platform.

According to preliminary results released on Monday, India ranked second in the number of checklists uploaded, trailing only behind the United States, and secured the third position globally for the highest number of species recorded, following Colombia and Ecuador. Kerala emerged as the leader in terms of the number of checklists submitted, while West Bengal reported the highest number of distinct species.

Among the noteworthy findings are several restricted-range species classified as ‘High Priority,’ including the Andaman Serpent-Eagle, Andaman Woodpecker, Nilgiri Laughingthrush, White-headed Starling, Nilgiri Sholakili, White-bellied Blue Flycatcher, Andaman Treepie, Forest Owlet, Bugun Liocichla, and White-bellied Sholakili.

The GBBC, an annual citizen science event aimed at bird conservation, engages enthusiasts of all skill levels in counting birds and documenting their observations. Held over a four-day period in February, participants have the freedom to conduct bird counts in various locations, from their own backyards to local parks and nature reserves.

“Participation in the GBBC has sparked a newfound interest in birding among students. Observing the diverse species and learning about their habits and habitats has ignited a sense of curiosity and appreciation for wildlife,” remarked Lesemew. M, founder of Eco-Warriors in Nagaland.

This year’s GBBC marked a significant milestone as birders from every state and union territory across India actively took part in the event. Many enthusiasts were able to cover all districts within their respective states, including Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, and West Bengal.

The success of India’s Backyard Bird Count not only underscores the country’s rich avifaunal diversity but also highlights the growing engagement of citizens in scientific endeavors aimed at biodiversity conservation. Through initiatives like the GBBC, individuals contribute valuable data that aids in understanding bird populations and distribution, ultimately supporting efforts to safeguard avian species and their habitats.

Rajan Shukla

Rajan Shukla

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