Birders participating in a four-day birding event – the Tokhü Emong Bird Count (TEBC) – in Nagaland have recorded 178 species and uploaded 84 checklists to eBird, an online platform to record bird observations. What makes these findings special is the fact that TEBC was Nagaland's first-ever birding event where birdwatchers across the state carried out a bird documentation exercise.
While TEBC is Nagaland’s festival, the bird count event was open to the public across India. Around 33 checklists came from regions outside Nagaland – Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. Over four days (from November 4-7) 18 birders from Dimapur, Kohima, Peren and Wokha districts contributed to the lists. The event was organised by the Wokha Forest Division and the Divisional Management Unit, Nagaland Forest Management Project (NFMP), and Bird Count India.
According to a news release on this preliminary report on TEBC, the idea behind the event was to get people interested in birds, create awareness and celebrate the rich bird diversity of Nagaland. Events such as these when conducted every year can also help in generating a baseline data to compare the year after year trends of our birds, the release adds, which is especially important given the widespread effects of climate change in North East India.
“It’s a very good initiative to identify the different species that are found in the state with involvement of the local communities in the effort. Nagaland is a state with rich bird diversity and it is important to document as well as monitor their populations in order to protect and conserve them”, Suman WM Sivachar, DFO and DMU head, Wokha, Nagaland Forest Department in the release.
Some of the species recorded during TEBC included the Red-faced liocichla, the Rusty-capped Fulvetta and the Streak-breasted Scimitar-babbler, among many others.
The Tokhü Emong is the post-harvest festival of the Lotha Nagas. For TEBC, birders were asked to go outdoors (anywhere they wish, including their balcony, campus where they live or study, or a nearby forest), spend at least 15 minutes watching birds, and upload their birdlists to eBird. These are obviously only the preliminary findings, with a more detailed report on the bird count expected to be released in December 2022.