Partaking in the annual Campus Bird Count 2018 (sub-event of Great Backyard Bird count) event as fellow birders, the Centre for Urban Ecology and Sustainability organized successful bird counts in Ambedkar University Delhi in all of its five campuses across the city and the Dheerpur Wetland Park from 16-19 February 2018. The Centre received strong participation responses from students, researchers and faculty alike to join the birding activity. The count of birds from the various campus sites of AUD – Kashmere Gate campus, Karampura campus, Lodhi Road campus, Rohini campus, Dheerpur campus, and the Dheerpur Wetland Park were listed by avid birders. The prepared species list was uploaded on www.ebird.org/india. The objective of uploading species checklist to ebird website under Great Backyard Bird Count goes beyond only record keeping. The participation of citizens helps to record birds geographically. Great Backyard Bird Count is held for 4 days, globally, every year since 2013 with the purpose to create annual snapshots of bird population to help answer questions about bird distribution, effects of change in habitat and weather and to track other possible changes from year to year in the avian population.
Before the actual event, CUES organised an orientation session by Prof Geetha Venkataraman, senior faculty at AUD and expert birder, in the Kashmere Gate Campus of AUD on 13 February 2018. The orientation was attended by staff and students of AUD and provided a useful introduction to the birds of India, intricacies of details in identification during birding, and popular birding sites in Delhi. Besides, Prof Geetha deliberated on the CBC protocol and initiative, and also enthralled the audience by sharing experiences of her numerous birding expeditions.
The method to create the checklist was simple. On each count day, participants arrived on site at 7 am, an ideal time to spot birds during early sun. The birding team then visited multiple spots within each campus site and recorded birds during an observation period of 15 minutes at each spot. Bird books, binoculars, cameras and note-taking of traits were used as tools throughout the checklisting activity, besides having the expertize of Prof Geetha, to help correctly ascertain bird species and their numbers. Completed checklists were uploaded to www.ebird.org/india.
Some of the birds that we saw at Ambedkar University Delhi Campus Bird Count 2018 besides common species like house crow and rock pigeon were Oriental Magpie-Robin (Copsychus saularis), Bluethroat (Luscinia svecica), Siberian Stonechat (Saxicola maurus), Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis), Indian Pond-Heron (Ardeola grayii), Green Bee-eater (Merops orientalis), Western Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava), Red-Wattled Lapwing (Vanellus indicus), Purple Sunbird (Cinnyris asiaticus), Indian Silverbill (Euodice malabarica), Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos), Common Redshank (Tringa totanus), Rufous Treepie (Dendrocitta vagabunda), Black Drongo (Dicrurus macrocercus), Red-whiskered Bulbul (Pycnonotus jocosus), Ashy Prinia (Prinia socialis), European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris), White Wagtail (Motacilla alba), Citrine Wagtail (Motacilla citreola), Gray-headed Swamphen (Porphyrio poliocephalus), Eurasian Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus), Eurasian Hoopoe (Upupa) and Oriental Skylark (Alauda gulgula).