A 'bird's eye view' into rare species at Mangalagangotri

Avian beauties

A 'bird's eye view' into rare species at Mangalagangotri

The Campus Bird Count team of Mangalore University is diligently maintaining a ‘bird’s eye view’ to record the number of bird species on the campus at Mangalagangotri.

The team members have already recorded 95 species of birds. The collaborative effort aims to document bird life in campuses across India. They seek to get a fair idea about the distribution of bird species on various campuses along with the data on migratory birds and their pattern of migration.

According to a press release, the Campus Bird Count is a sub-event of the larger Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) organised by Bird Count India every year. This year, 292 campuses across India registered for the Campus Bird Count and a total of 27 campuses participated from Karnataka.

For the first time, 77 species of birds were recorded in February 2016. This year, the bird count was conducted from February 17 to 20 on the Mangalore University campus (Mangalagangotri).

The Campus Bird Count team was led by Vineeth Kumar K, research scholar, Department of Applied Zoology with Prashantha Krishna M C (Alumnus of Department of Chemistry), Jagdish Paithanker (Research Scholar), Radhakrishna Upadhyaya K (MSc student) and Akhila M P (MSc student) of Department of Applied Zoology.

There were over 50 participants, including students and research scholars from various postgraduate departments of Mangalore University (Applied Zoology, Biosciences, Physics, Chemistry, Material Science), along with a few staff members from Department of Applied Zoology, Mangalore University and P A College of Engineering, students from UG and PG department of St Aloysius College (Autonomous), Mangaluru and a few bird watchers and enthusiasts from the Coastal Karnataka Birdwatchers’ Network.

Birds were located across the campus (main campus area, Laterite outcrops near Yakshagana Kala Mandira, Arboretum, botanical garden, small forest patches near the administrative office and Library area etc.). Both diurnal and nocturnal birds were recorded during the bird count.

Some of the rare birds recorded during this event include Sri Lankan frogmouth, Savanna Nightjar, Yellow-wattled Lapwing, Tickell’s blue flycatcher, Woolly necked stork, Small minivets and Brown-capped Pygmy woodpecker.

The bird count also recorded seven migratory species of birds such as Indian Roller (state bird of Karnataka), Eurasian kestrel, Brown shrike, Booted eagle, Blue-tailed bee-eater, Ashy drongo and Blyth’s reed warbler.

This count also revealed the presence of few endemic species such as Red spurfowls, white-cheeked barbet, Malabar whistling thrush, Grey-headed bulbul, Rufous babbler and Nilgiri flowerpecker.

Bird species have increased this year compared to last year due to involvement of more bird watchers and increased explorations across the campus area. Bird watchers at the campus are hoping for a few more additions to the list in the coming years.

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