Here is some good news for bird lovers, especially those who thought that the bird population was rapidly dwindling in Namma Bengaluru.
What has excited them the most was the sighting of the Indian grey hornbill (Ocyceros birostris) within the city limits at Lalbagh and at the Gandhi Krishi Vignana Kendra (GKVK) campus of the University of Agriculture Sciences on Ballari Road. The sighting of the bird has thrilled ornithologists. Generally, the hornbill is found on the city outskirts such as Devanahalli, Sarjapura, Tataguni on Kanakapura Road, Bannerghatta Zoo and National Park. Noted ornithologist, Dr S Subrahmanya said that sighting the bird around GKVK is a good sign.
Ornithologists point out that hornbills are a species found in thickly wooded areas and are mostly seen in the Western Ghats. Interestingly a healthy population is found in small towns and cities and on the outskirts of Bengaluru. In the last two decades, the bird has almost disappeared from the city limits.
Dr Subrahmanya attributes this decline in the bird population to fast disappearing fruit trees in the city. For example, the hornbill is a bird dependant on figs. If there are more fig trees, the bird population increases, he reasons. Some bird lovers have mapped the location of the bird on eBird India, an online global tool for birdwatchers. M B Krishna, a conservationist, said that so far, a population of breeding hornbills has not been sighted anywhere in the city. This shows that the number of large trees which the birds need for breeding is on the decline.