- By Dr Vineeth Kumar, Assistant Professor, Dept of Zoology, St Aloysius College, Mangaluru
Mangaluru: The Campus bird count (CBC) is a sub-event of the larger ‘Great Backyard Bird Count’ (GBBC), organized by Bird Count India in collaboration with eBIRD every year since 2015. This is an effort to document the birdlife in various campuses across India. This year 252 campuses took part in this mega birding event.
St Aloysius College, a 140-year-old campus is situated at the center of Mangaluru city and is spread over 37 acres. The campus took part in this event for the second consecutive year. The event was organized by the Department of Zoology.
The campus bird count team was led by Dr. Vineeth Kumar K., Assistant professor, Department of Zoology in the active presence of all the staff members and Dr Hemachandra, Head of the Department of Zoology. About 45 students from various UG Science, Arts, and Commerce departments of the college actively participated in the bird count.
Four days (14th to 17th February) of the birding event concluded with a recording of 35 species of birds. The common most birds of the campus include Black kite, Brahminy Kite, Feral Pigeons, Chestnut-tailed Starlings, Asian Koels and White-cheeked barbet. A total of 6 migratory bird species was reported from this campus which includes Blyth’s reed warbler, Green Warbler, Large-billed leaf warbler, Indian paradise flycatcher, Blue-tailed bee-eater and Ashy Drongo.
The campus being in the midst of a crowded coastal city is home to several bird species, which is a rare and interesting observation. This emphasizes the importance of green patches in an urbanized area. The campus has several small green patches with large woody trees which act as sheltering grounds, additionally, there are many flowering and fruiting plants in the campus which attracts many birds as they provide food to these birds. There are hundreds of Black kites seen perched on top of various buildings on the campus. Calls of Asian Koels and White-cheeked barbets can be heard throughout the day. Flocks of hundreds of Chestnut-tailed starlings flying around the campus is a blissful sight to cherish.
Such bird counts done for several years will give an understanding of how the bird populations are changing with time. Bird-watching is the best way to spend our leisure time and anyone can practice this hobby irrespective of their age, occupation, and place. Watching birds can bring joy to our minds and be a good stress reliever. With continuous practice bird watching becomes an integral part of a birdwatchers' life.
Last time the team had reported 38 species of birds, however, this year the number has reduced to 35. The restricted number of days for the bird count and changing weather patterns may have influenced the species numbers.
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