By Rohit Chakravarty
As part of our efforts to reach out to birders and birding groups, Bird Count India conducts workshops about bird listing and monitoring in different parts of the country. In the last 10 months, we have conducted such workshops in a variety of places, including Gujarat, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Sikkim, Assam and Mizoram.
Having covered some cities in the south, east and west, in September, we headed north to conduct two workshops, one each in Jammu and in Kashmir. The State of Jammu & Kashmir has a rich and unique birdlife. While there is some literature available about the bird diversity of Ladakh, less in known about birds from the rest of the State.
Our workshops have the general theme ‘Birding to make a difference’; in other words how can all of us continue to do the birding we enjoy, while at the same time ensure that our sightings contribute towards a better understanding of the birds we all love? In these workshops, we talk about (1) bird monitoring by local groups, (2) the eBird platform, and (3) how eBird can be used to run bird surveying and monitoring projects.
In Jammu, the workshop was organized as part of the two-day National Workshop on Bird Monitoring (19-20 September 2015) at the Institute of Mountain Environment (IME) in the picturesque hill station of Bhaderwah. The workshop was attended by 25 people, largely composed of research scholars, scientists and veteran birders from Jammu & Kashmir and Uttarakhand, among other eminent people. A field trip was organized on the second day to watch woodland birds in the splendid Jai Valley (30km from Bhaderwah). Many thanks to Dr Neeraj Sharma of IME, University of Jammu, Bhaderwah campus for organizing this wonderful event!
In Kashmir, the workshop was held at the University of Kashmir campus in Srinagar on 22 September. It was organized by an active, local birding group called Kashmir Birdlife in association with the Centre for Biodiversity and Taxonomy of University of Kashmir. Although the workshop was conducted on a weekday and it had rained continuously for over 24 hours, the participation was excellent! Some 25 birders, research scholars and scientists from Srinagar and some other towns of Kashmir attended the workshop. Some birders even turned up for a short bird walk at the university before the workshop. We are grateful to Dr Riyaz Ahmed and Mr Intesar Suhail for the efforts in coordinating this workshop.
It was a great privilege to interact with the delightful and hospitable birders of Jammu & Kashmir. Subsequently, there have been checklists from the State uploaded to eBird on almost every single day since the workshops. We look forward to the continued support of the J&K birding community and hope to work together with them for bird listing and monitoring in the future!
If you are interested in organizing a workshop in your city, please do get in touch.