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Every year the annual bird census is undertaken after the end of the northeast monsoon in Tamil Nadu. Usually it happens around Pongal. This year, more volunteers and students have come forward to take part in the Forest Department’s bird survey, as interest in studying birds has gone up.
Groups have been formed to share with one another the data collected from bird-watching and the methods of uploading them online. They have also been trained on how to count the birds.
The exercise of bird census can be undertaken from home itself, forest department officials said. One can spot birds flying over the horizon and collect species-wise data about them, standing at the terrace of the house. The forest department would provide the necessary basic training for the purpose.
Every year this practice is followed, and the number of volunteers participating in the annual bird census has been going up steadily. It demonstrates the increasing awareness about conservation and the love of birds among the people in Tamil Nadu.
Groups have been formed to share with one another the data collected from bird-watching and the methods of uploading them online. They have also been trained on how to count the birds
This year the exercise has been divided into two phases — counting of aquatic birds and land birds. While water birds were counted on January 28 and 29, the census of land birds is to be conducted on March 4 and 5.
As ornithology involves keeping tabs on winged visitors, particularly when a large number of them are migratory and not endemic, the Forest Department has drawn up a plan to set up camps at 20 important places in the state and collect data about birds in those areas.
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In each district, bird lovers, volunteers and school and college students have registered with the forest office, to be involved in the bird census, and to hopefully learn a bit about the airborne creatures of the animal kingdom. A forest official said that the number of volunteers this year had increased beyond their expectations.
In the first phase of the exercise, about 4.66 lakh birds camping in marshlands and water-bodies have been counted, according to the data provided by the Forest Department. The birds belonged to 410 species as per the census conducted at 644 places in the state.
For the March exercise of counting land-based birds, more volunteers than usual have officially expressed their willingness to participate. Those who wish to take part in the extensive census can contact the District Forest Officers concerned, a release from the Forest Department said.
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