As autumn slowly begins to transition into winter, thousands of fascinating birds from central Asia and beyond make their way to south India. This weekend, from 2-3 October, Bengaluru’s bird watching enthusiasts have organised Bengaluru Bird Day. There are virtual talks to be held on Saturday and a bird walking tour scheduled for Sunday.
The tour, which is held regularly on some weekends, attracts people across ages groups; be it elementary school children or adults in their eighties. “If we are to develop an ecologically sensitive population, education has to start early. If you don't have a green environment around you, how are you going to be sensitised about nature. Informal education like bird watching gains precedence in such a situation,” shares MB Krishna a member of BngBirds, one of the organising committees of the bird day.
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As an initiative to educate youngsters about birds, there’s a virtual launch of a book titled Handbook for Bird Educators. It was published two weeks ago and is available for free download on early-bird.in.
Bengaluru Bird Day is also a tribute to Dr Joseph George who is considered to be the father of the city’s active birdwatching club BngBirds. In the 1970s, when it was established as an informal group, it was known as the Birdwatchers Field Club of Bangalore. The virtual event on Saturday involves talks about his contribution. Dr George’s birthday is on October 1 and Bengaluru Bird Day falls on the subsequent weekend every year since its launch in 2014.
“Birdwatching is just a catchphrase”, shares Ulhas Anand who runs the environment education start-up Eco Edu, and adds, “We go out to explore trees, butterflies and insects too.” Anand names a few birds that will be the highlight of the walking tour.
There’s the world’s fastest bird Peregrine falcon which dives at a lightning speed of 400 hm/hr and can beat a Formula 1 car. “It comes to Karnataka all the way from Central Asia and beyond in October, November and December,” says Anand.
The eastern and western ghats of India are home to the Shaheen falcon, a subspecies of the Peregrine falcon. Sightings of this mighty predator during this time of the year are a common phenomena.
The world’s highest flying birds, the bar-headed geese, visit India now and birdwatchers in Bengaluru are looking forward to their sightings. “They fly over the Himalayas and come all the way from Tibet,” explains Anand.
There’s the wispy palm-sized Green Leaf Warbler, a visitor from Caucasus mountains and Central Asia that lay claim in the greenery surrounding Bengaluru. Their pleasant chirps announce their arrival in the weeks between September and October. Anand says, “People who can recognise their songs say it’s like meeting an old friend.”
For more details on how to sign up for the virtual event, visit birdday.in