45% of country’s bird species in Himachal Pradesh: Great Backyard Bird Count

The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) 2017 report, which is under preparation, claims that nearly 45 per cent of the 1263 species available in India are found in Himachal Pradesh. The state forest department of Himachal Pradesh was one of the participants of the four-day long event. Himachal Forest Department has been participating in the eBird event the since 2013.

As per available eBird data, in total 564 bird species were reported from Himachal Pradesh. These 564 species is nearly 45 per cent of the 1263 species found in whole country. Till date, 2833 bird check lists have been uploaded to e-Bird from all districts of Himachal Pradesh with highest number of 453 bird species reported from the Kangra district only. The data was contributed by nearly 50 bird watchers including staff of the Himachal Forest Department and volunteers.

Great Backyard Bird Count is the first online citizen-science project that was launched in 1998 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society to collect data on wild birds and to display results in near real-time. The event is annually organised for four days in the month of February. It is organised to create an annual snapshot of the distribution and abundance of birds.

GBBC 2017 engaged bird watchers from the general public in the counting of birds. The event/initiative that ran from 17 February to 20 February 2017 was headed by SK Sharma, the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest Wildlife. The event was coordinated by the bird count India partnership, a coming-together of a number of Indian groups and organisation that are interested in birds, nature and conservation. A detailed report is in preparation and will be published shortly. eBird is a website for recording and maintaining the bird sighting data and is based at the Cornell University’s Laboratory of Ornithology. The next GBBC will be conducted from 16 February to 19 February 2018.

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