There are times when I go bird watching and come across a common bird such as a myna, pigeon or crow and completely ignore it. Most of them don't make it to mine or anyone else's bird watching lists. As a result data on such birds are seldom recorded and they are barely noticed until something about them becomes a cause for concern. So, how do you get people to pitch in and report data from the more common birds?
Built along the lines of SeasonWatch and MigrantWatch , ICBMI presents an opportunity for common people to register and define an area in which they can monitor and report sightings of common birds. The data will be used in a scientific study to undertake long term monitoring of India’s Common birds.
For useful practical purposes, 18 species have been listed as common birds. These are:
Coppersmith Barbet -Megalaima haemacephala, Common Hoopoe -Upupa epops, White-throated Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis,,
Green Bee-eater -Merops orientalis, Greater Coucal -Centropus sinensis, Rose-ringed Parakeet -Psittacula krameri, Rock Pigeon
-Columba livia, Black Kite -Milvus migrans, Cattle Egret -Bubulcus coromandus, House Crow -Corvus splendens, Black Drongo -Dicrurus macrocercus, Indian Robin -Saxicoloides fulicatus, Common Myna -Acridotheres tristis, Barn Swallow -Hirundo rustica, Red-vented Bulbul -Pycnonotus cafer, Ashy Prinia -Prinia socialis, Purple Sunbird -Nectarinia asiatica, House Sparrow -Passer domesticus.
The site reports that there is little or no study of the status , population and geographic distribution of these species on a landscape level. The common bird monitoring programme will help in collecting details on the population and distribution of these birds over a period of time and help in creating baseline data which can then be used to study region specific trends of many species.
Apart from these common birds, you can also report on any bird that you spot in your defined locality.
Once registered you can choose a time to watch birds for 15 minutes in your chosen space to watch birds (You can do that from anywhere and one can register more than one location) and then report your observation on the site.
There is a data tab on the website which also allows you to view data by locality, time or species.
The site also offers a CBMI kit. “The CBMI Kit includes materials like bird guide to 18 common birds you need to monitor when you go out to watch birds and a simple data form for recording your observations You can download the kit from this website or order it for free when you register or when you email email@example.com”
With time, the project is expected to generate a huge quantity of useful data on common birds and if you are one of those nature enthusiasts who can take 15 minutes a day off (you probably do it anyway), go ahead and register.
PS: the success of citizen science projects depends upon the involvement of people and for people to get involved, people need to be made aware of such initiative. So, to my 216 followers on Facebook, 1063 followers on Twitter, 172 feed subscribers, 95 blogger (Google friend connect) and email subscribers and those of you who randomly drop by. Please share this and help spread the word.