Over 70 birdwatchers from 11 Indian states, including Chhattisgarh, participated in the first Kanger Valley National Park Bird Survey - 2022 (KVNP Bird Survey-2022) from November 25 to November 27, 2022, and covered over 50 trails.
The participants split up into different groups to cover varied habitats, such as woodland, wetland, riparian forest, and scrubland.
During this survey, 9 species of owls (including the magnificent Spot-bellied Eagle-Owl), 10 birds of prey, 11 species of woodpeckers (including the White-bellied Woodpecker, the largest woodpecker in peninsular India ), and many other species were documented.
For uncommon birds, participants not just took photographs but also recorded their sounds.
This survey revealed that the landscape of Kanger Ghati can potentially host species that are found in the Himalayas, North East, Eastern, and Western Ghats.
For example, the Malabar Trogon and White-bellied Woodpecker are thought to be birds of the Western Ghats.
Many species of flycatchers and warblers from temperate Eurasia visit the region during the winter.
Kanger Valley is a treasure trove that requires regular surveys by experienced birdwatchers to understand the complexity of the region.
In fact, after the survey was completed, visiting birders (Kalyani Kapdi, Rohit Jain, and Venus Joshi) moved to Raipur and even found a Pied Wheatear.
Around the same time, two resident birders from Raipur (Jageshwar Verma and Dr Dilip Verma) spotted a Northern Lapwing. Both birds—the Pied Wheatear and the Northern Lapwing—are new birds for Chhattisgarh (the Pied Wheatear has never before been observed in Central India), and these fantastic finds highlight the importance of bringing experienced birdwatchers together for a common cause.
"The Kameron Valley Bird Survey was a wonderful opportunity for birders across the country to come together to explore this region's unique biodiversity," said Garima Bhatia, programme manager of the Early-Bird project under the Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF
"A lot of effort went into planning and executing the survey, and my kudos go to the forest department and the team of volunteers who organised this initiative. I sincerely hope that the state will see many more such citizen science efforts, which are already happening in different parts of the country with outstanding success," she added.
"This was a very nice bird survey, and I learned a lot from Sonu Arora. We would watch birds together, and he would tell us the names of every bird we saw," said Raydhar Nag, a resident of Kanger who works as a Myna Mitra for the KVNP, working towards the conservation of the Bastar Hill Myna, the state bird of Chhattisgarh.
"To be a part of the KNVP bird survey was a proud moment. It was a wonderful experience with splendid bird species like the ruby-cheeked sunbird and the white-bellied woodpecker," said Deepali Watve, an engineer and nature educator from Pune.
"Though it was the first systematic bird survey happening in Chhattisgarh, it was very well organised. The birding teams composed of Myna Mitra, Magar Mitra, and volunteers from Gidhwa Village (Durg) were equally contributing to the survey, along with more experienced birdwatchers. All the records were responsibly uploaded to eBird, which is being used across the world by millions of birdwatchers," she added.
This was Kanger Valley’s first such bird survey that involved forest personnel, bird guides, and citizen birdwatchers from India. This survey was organised by the Chhattisgarh Forest Department with birders from the state in collaboration with Birds & Wildlife of Chhattisgarh and Bird Count India.
During the bird survey, participants also saw mammals like the Malabar Giant Squirrel, Spotted Deer, Rhesus Macaque, Grey Langur, scats of Sloth Bear, pug-marks of Leopard, and also the Indian Wolf—an endangered species.
Kanger Valley National Park
Kanger Valley National Park is home to a key and threatened ecosystem that holds many treasures and secrets, including a population of Chhattisgarh’s state bird, the melodious Hill Myna, and the majestic White-bellied Woodpecker.
Periodic bird surveys can help monitor the health of KVNP’s bird populations for conservation and showcase to the world the unique diversity of the region.
There are several ways to survey birds. In this survey, the protocol was simple: teams would walk predefined trails where they would watch and count birds. All observations were uploaded to eBird, an online platform to record bird observations, through the eBird mobile app.
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