- An Atlas of Birds of Kerala released on 25 January 2021 PDF News Press Coverage
- Kerala Bird Atlas Scientific Analysis kickstarted on 18 January 2021
- Kerala Bird Atlas Surveys have been completed on 13 September 2020.
- Press Coverage in Times of India
- Data Analysis, report and publications shall follow soon
- Dry Season Status: 95.35% [739 / 775 cells covered completely]
- Wet Season Coverage: 80.65% [625 / 775 cells covered completely].
- Comparison of Dry and Wet Season Atlas for 14 districts. Three years data.
- Press Coverage in The Hindu with map.
- Press Coverage in Manorama Online.
Wet Season Status: 1st July 2020 (Awaiting update)
Kerala Bird Atlas is an ambitious citizen science project, to map the distribution and abundance of birds of an entire Indian state for the first time. (Mysore city Bird Atlas is on from 2014). Envisaged as a five year activity during a workshop in July 2015 conducted at Thrissur where several bird-watchers from Kerala participated, the Bird Atlas is expected to give more insights to abundance of the common birds which is largely lacking now. By repeating the process over a period of 25 years or so, it will be possible to scientifically document changes in distribution and abundance of our birds over a period of time. This has huge implications on nature conservation as a whole as birds are perfect indicators of the changing ecological conditions.
For those who are interested in what can be achieved, please see this link for what UK birders (BTO) has managed to do. Atlas outputs are used by policy makers in several countries and are perfect examples of citizen science being used in conservation of nature. The 2014 RSPB Medal was awarded to the team behind the British Bird Atlas 2007–11 and they acknowledged its role as a valuable resource to everyone involved in conserving, researching or understanding Britain and Ireland’s birds.
In the political map of Kerala which spans over 38,863 km², 4324 sub-cells (locations) that need to be surveyed have been identified. Each sub-cell will be surveyed for 1 hour effort, twice a year. Thrissur & Alappuzha were the first districts to complete and and their results are published in a workshop in June 2016. Subsequently, Kasaragod, Kannur and Kottayam has completed their respective atlases in 2018. By 2020 September, the process will be complete for the first systematic Bird Atlas for a state in India !
Follow the updates in Kerala Bird Atlas Facebook group
Kerala Bird Atlas Protocol v 1.2
- Bird Atlas surveys shall be done twice a year.
- July mid – September mid [60 days, 9 weekends]
- January mid – March mid [60 days, 9 weekends]
- Kerala is divided into grids of size 6.6 x 6.6km (3.75’ x 3.75’)
- Each grid is divided into four quadrants of size 3.3 x 3.3km (1.875’ x 1.875’)
- Each quadrant is divided into 9 sub-cells of size 1.1 x 1.1km (0.625’ x 0.625’)
- Bird-watcher teams sample 1 randomly selected sub-cell in every quadrant in Kerala (roughly 10% sampling)
- Each team shall have minimum two birders and maximum five birders and shall have atleast one expert bird-watcher selected by the coordinator.
- Each sub-cell shall have four 15 minute, travelling lists of all species counted/estimated and uploaded in eBird.
- Teams should attempt to cover all habitat types inside a sub-cell.
- Though it is okay to have just one team do all the four lists in a sub-cell, it is preferable that multiple teams divide the responsibility of covering a sub-cell. This gives us less observer bias. E.g. With a single basecamp in a forest bird survey with two teams, one the second day, teams can swap the sub-cells they did on the first day.
- Though it is okay to have one team do all the four sub-cells one after the other on the same day, it is preferable to do these sub-cells split into multiple days to avoid bias due to transient weather conditions. E.g. Easily accessible sub-cells can even be visited on four independent mornings for 15 minutes each, however atleast do the sub-cells in a cell on different days.
- Bird-watching times are generally expected to be between 6:00-10:00 and 16:00-18:00. However individual teams are left to decide the best times of the day for birding in each sub-cell based on the habitat, disturbance and bird abundance.
- Forest sub-cells shall be strictly covered during 6:00-9:00 and exceptionally till 10:00.
- Sub-cell has to be resampled if the lists are not representative due to unforeseen conditions like rain, disturbances, weather conditions, etc. and is decided together by coordinator and the lead birder.
- Apart from birds, it is mandatory for the volunteers to report the presence/absence of the following in each of their lists. These can be entered as eBird list comments.
- Any water body of size approximately greater than 10 square meters
- Standing Water (Yes/No)
- Flowing Water (Yes/No)
- Fruiting Fig (ആൽമരം) trees (Only fruiting during the count)
Strangler figs are very distinctive due to the hanging roots and the twisted/knotted trunk and easy to recognize.
- Presence/Absence of Invasive Plants
- Lantana camara (കൊങ്ങിണിപൂവ്)
- Eichhornia crassipes (Water Hyacinth, കുളവാഴ)
- Salivinia molesta (അഫ്രിക്കൻ പായൽ)
- Mikania micrantha (ധൃതരാഷ്ട്ര പച്ച)
- Any water body of size approximately greater than 10 square meters
Tools to Use
- Data Entry shall be in eBird.
- Use LocusFree to find where you are using an Android smart phone.
- Use GPX Viewer or QuoVadis Moblie 2 if you are a Windows phone user.
- Sub-cells for Surveying
- ID Guide to help volunteers recognize the invasive plant species. [Note, next version coming soon]
- An atlas quick checklist on things to do.
- A YouTube guide on how to fill an atlas list in eBird
- Bird Atlas eBird ID to which you can share your list
- Kasaragod: Kasaragod_bird_atlas
- Wayanad: wayanad
- Kozhikode: Kozhikode Bird Atlas
- Malappuram: malappurambirdatlas
- Thrissur: Bird Atlas Thrissur
- Palakkad: Bird atlas Palakkad
- Ernakulam: EKMBirdAtlas
- Idukki: IdukkiBirdAtlas
- Kottayam: BirdAtlasKtm
- Pathanamthitta: Pathanamthitta Atlas
- Kollam: Birdatlaskollam
- Thiruvananthapuram: Bird Atlas Trivandrum
- Kasaragod: Prashantha Krishna M C [email protected]
- Kannur: C Sashikumar [email protected]
- Wayanad: CK Vishnudas [email protected]
- Kozhikode: Naveenlal P [email protected]
- Malappuram: SS Prasanth [email protected]
- Palakkad: Arya Vinod Arya Vinod [email protected]
- Thrissur: ES Praveen [email protected]
- Ernakulam: Premchand Reghuvaran [email protected]
- Idukki: Premchand Reghuvaran [email protected]
- Kottayam: Harikumar Mannar [email protected]
- Alappuzha: Harikumar Mannar [email protected]
- Pathanamthitta: Hari Mavelikara [email protected]
- Kollam: Jishnu R [email protected]
- Thiruvananthapuram: AK Sivakumar [email protected]
- Wet Season Survey results – Press Coverage in Mathrubhumi.
- State wide: Nation’s first ever bird atlas project launched in Kerala. 22 March 2017 ManoramaOnline
- State wide: A Bird Atlas for the land of bird songs. 12 February 2017, Mathrubhumi Varandha Pathippu
- Kannur: Kerala’s first bird atlas: Where citizen meets science, thanks to technology 16 Aug 2016, Factor Daily
- Ernakulam: A Bird in Hand 10 July 2016, The Hindu
- Wayanad: Bird Atlas takes wings in Wayanad & Bird Atlas project launched in Wayanad 17 July 2016, The Hindu
- Kannur: Bird survey to begin in Kannur on July 16 12 July 2016, The Hindu
- Alappuzha: Watch out: Bird maps for Alappuzha and Thrissur ready 5 June 2016, OnManorama
Header Image: Malabar Whistling-Thrush Myophonus horsfieldii by Sriram Reddy/ Macaulay Library