The Big Bird Day 2014
This is no search for some mythical Yeti of the bird world. This is a wonderful celebration of our avian friends through the dedication of an entire day to birdwatching and recording the number of species sighted in a region.
Dates: February 16, 2014
Contact Details: Dr. Caesar Sengupta
About the event:
The Big Bird Day was initially started by the DelhiBird group (created by Nikhil Devasar and Bikram Grewal) as an informal event held in February or March. The first Big Bird Day was held on February 22, 2004 when 236 species of birds were recorded across Delhi.
Every year since then self-organised volunteer birders under the guidance of chosen group leader(s) cover the fields and wetlands in and around Delhi from early morning until late in the day to spot bird species. Over the years, the data collected have revealed the changing trends in habitat condition, bird diversity, migration and related ecological issues. The highest number of bird species recorded in a Big Bird Day was 271 in 2005.
A good idea spreads quickly and in the years since 2004, volunteer birders and members of Delhibird and other groups located outside the capital started their respective Big Bird Day counts. From just a few outstation teams in 2010, there were over 30 teams participating in Big Bird Day counts in 2012, with a few teams pitching in from overseas as well.
In 2013, the Big Bird Day went truly national with over 160 teams comprising over 1,000 birders coming together to celebrate the first pan-India Big Bird Day.
So be a part of Big Bird Day and join us in our birding adventures on February 16, 2014. The hope is that Big Bird Day will become the definitive national birdwatching and independent survey event in India, creating a nationally significant repository for avian information in the subcontinent. We hope to maintain Big Bird Day as an open source, non-commercial, apolitical event driven by the passion of birdwatching, photography, conservation and education.
Teams will be birding in multiple places, documenting what they see and taking extra care about out-of-range and other unusual sightings. The teams will chose a group leader(s) who can ratify the sightings and send the information to the Big Bird Day Referee by a designated time. Accurate identification of each bird will be of great importance. Birds may be identified by scientific name, common name or the name in the local dialect. Teams will work from dawn until dusk.
Big Bird Day has been conducted on the basis of a few important guiding principles that have allowed it to remain independent, driven by enthusiastic birders and focused purely on the mission of watching and recording bird species. It is not a competitive event or a “race”. There are no prizes for seeing the maximum number of species, and that should not be the goal. However, with 160 (or more) teams from all over the subcontinent searching for birds at 300 locations on the same day, the data becomes invaluable in measuring bird diversity. It can help create a rich database, especially if accumulated over several seasons and years.
The goals are to cover as much area as possible while avoiding overlap, to identify and record as many species of birds as accurately as possible, to refrain from disturbing birds or their habitats, to have clean and safe fun, and to encourage and share the joys of birdwatching with children and others.