Avian Allies, the Birders’ Club of CHRIST (Deemed to be University), Pune Lavasa Campus organized a Bird-a-thon event on 28th September 2023. The fun and insightful walk commenced at the Gazebo in the Central Block at 9 AM. Led by the resource person, Mr Avishkar Munje who is currently a visiting faculty for Environmental Awareness, Ecology, Environmental Biotechnology and Biostatistics at Fergusson College, Pune, the aim of the event was to help the attendees gain awareness regarding the bird species found on Campus and appreciate the rich avian diversity of the region.
The walk began with a briefing by the resource person regarding basic etiquettes of bird watching such as wearing dull clothing that would camouflage with the surroundings, moving slowly in small groups without making much noise and maintaining a safe distance from birds engaged in nesting, mating or rearing chicks. The participants were also introduced to the eBird App and the importance of recording bird sightings.
Using the book Birds of the Indian Subcontinent by Grimmett and Inskipp as a guide, Mr Munje explained the basics of bird identification employing indicators like size and shape, behaviour, habitat and colour pattern. Additionally, he explained how bird sounds can also be used as identity markers. Under the guidance of Mr Munje, the participants recorded the presence of more than twenty bird species on the Campus apart from other creatures such as dragonflies, butterflies, ant and snake species. The birds sighted during the walk included white brown wagtail/ large pied wagtail, grey wagtail, white-cheeked barbet, large billed crow/ jungle crow, red whiskered bulbul, red vented bulbul, pied bushchat, scaly breasted munia, dusky crag martin, common tailorbird, Indian robin, sunbird (male, female, eclipse male), Vigors sunbird, puff throated babbler, greenish warbler, Siberian stonechat and lapwing. A number of bird calls were heard such as that of the ashy prinia, junglefowl, common iora and white throated kingfisher.
The butterfly species sighted during the walk included glassy tiger, grass yellow, common crow, blue mormon (State butterfly) and common emigrant. The participants observed how the butterflies stayed close to the ground to absorb minerals. The wandering glider dragon flies, the checkered keelback snake and few crematogaster ant nests were also spotted during the walk. The walk covered the green patches in the Central and Management Block and concluded in the Social Sphere where participants sat down to enthusiastically share and discuss the bird sightings. The list of birds was systematically entered on the eBird App by the resource person and shared with all the participants. They thus received a live demonstration of the manner in which the app can be employed to contribute to citizen science initiatives. Participants also learnt how to create hotspots on the app and share their sightings with other interested birders across the country. Overall, the event provided a great learning experience to all the attendees. It piqued participants’ interest in birds, encouraged them to responsibly observe bird species and created awareness regarding activities that could potentially harm their natural habitats.
OUTCOMES OF THE EVENT
Outcome 1: Identify bird species found in the Campus
Outcome 2: Learn to use the eBird App to contribute to citizen science