103 bird species spotted in Mumbai’s Karnala Sanctuary

103 bird species sighted in Mumbai’s Karnala Bird Sanctuary

KBS is very popular among nature lovers, trekkers, fort, and heritage enthusiasts

Highlights of the sightings were species like Alpine Swift, Indian Scops Owl, Indian Eagle Owl, Indian Pitta, Common Hawk Cuckoo, and Peregrine Falcon feeding on Parakeet. Credit: Green Works Trust

In a first-of-its-kind of citizen-driven initiative, as many as 103 bird species were sighted at the Karnala Bird Sanctuary near Mumbai.

Declared a sanctuary in 1966, the Karnala Bird Sanctuary, located within the Mumbai metropolitan region (MMR), is the first and oldest bird sanctuary of India.

The small sanctuary, spread over 12.48 sq km in Panvel tehsil in Raigad district, is a nearly two-hour drive from downtown Mumbai.

The Karnala Fort in the sanctuary is also a major tourist attraction.

KBS is very popular among nature lovers, trekkers, fort, and heritage enthusiasts.

The day-night survey -- called Karnala Bird Count -- was conducted on December 19-20 by the Maharashtra Forest Department (MFD) and Green Works Trust (GWT).

“This was the first-of-its-kind of a scientific survey in the Karnala Bird Sanctuary, this was also the first-of-its-kind of night bird count in Maharashtra,” said Nikhil Bhopale, the founder of GWT.

The event was inaugurated by Sunil Limaye, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) heading the West zone.

Dr Bhanudas Pingle, Deputy Conservator of Forest (Wildlife), Thane; Nandakumar Kupte, Assistant Commissioner of Forest, Phansad and  Pradip Chavhan Range Forest Officer, Karnala Bird Sanctuary was also present for the event.   

A total of 27 participants were divided into nine teams who covered all types of habitats in the sanctuary.

Each team consisted of bird experts, photographers, ebird users, GWT members and forest guards.         

The survey followed two types of bird count sampling methods viz. Line Transect and Point Counts. There were nine line transacts and five point counts were done to cover the sanctuary area of 12.48 sq km.

“This count was aimed to document the bird population and avifaunal diversity of the sanctuary. A total of 103 species of birds were sighted during the count,” said Bhopale.

Highlights of the sightings were species like Alpine Swift, Indian Scops Owl, Indian Eagle Owl, Indian Pitta, Common Hawk Cuckoo, and Peregrine Falcon feeding on Parakeet.