The Amur Falcon Goes to School!

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Through music and dance, children in Nagaland are championing the cause of the little raptor.

On his way to school this October, 13-year-old Seiminlen saw a ngeikang. He told the school’s eco-club that the first Amur falcon of the season had been spotted. The children gathered outside their school to watch, trying to count the birds, listening to their high-pitched calls. They perhaps didn’t know it, but these children have been at the forefront of bird conservation in the remote, … Read More

The Enigma of the Forest Owlet

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The Forest Owlet (Heteroglaux blewitti) is a curious bird, both by name and nature. It has captured the imagination of many within and outside the country and for the right reasons.

The forest owlet has an interesting past associated with it. Let us travel back in time to the 19th century. It was in 1872 when an Irish officer, Mr. Francis Robert Blewitt (F. R. Blewitt) saw this different looking owl near Phooljhar in eastern Madhya Pradesh (now in Chhattisgarh). … Read More

BNHS Flamingo Festival — Sewri Jetty, Mumbai, April 22, 2017

Ramki Sreenivasan

The Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) has organized its annual flamingo festival on Earth Day this year, funded by Mangrove and Marine Biodiversity Conservation Foundation and supported by the Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT).

A day-long event to enjoy these pink guests Mumbai receives every winter, the flamingo festival becomes a nature fair in its own way with a bevy of wetland birds to observe and over 20,000 flamingos as key attraction.

This festival is open for all and entry is … Read More

A Species Recovery Plan for Jerdon’s Courser

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Jerdon’s Courser (Rhinoptilus bitorquatus) is a nocturnal cursorial bird found only in the State of Andhra Pradesh, India. It is one of the world’s rarest bird species and is classified as Critically Endangered (CR) by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The species was believed to be extinct until it was rediscovered in 1986 near Reddipalli village, Cuddapah District of Andhra Pradesh, India. The site where it was rediscovered was designated as the Sri Lankamaleswara Wildlife … Read More

Banded Tickell’s Thrush, Uttarakhand

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Bird ringing or banding is the attachment of a small metal or plastic ring/band around the tarsus of a bird. Birds are usually caught using mist-nets, ringed and their morphological characters (beak length, tail length) are measured before they are released, usually within a few minutes. Ringing helps generate exceptional data about avian biology. For over a hundred years, birds have been ringed at permanent ringing stations in Europe to study migration patterns. The legendary Dr. Salim Ali set up … Read More

Forest Owlet, Tansa, Maharashtra

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To start the New Year with a bang, Saurabh Sawant, Rujuta Phadke and myself went to Tansa Wildlife Sanctuary near Mumbai where Sunil Laad — a naturalist associated with the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) — had sighted and photographed the Critically Endangered Forest Owlet in November 2014.

We had just parked our car to stop and search when, to our incredulity, we heard a Forest Owlet calling. It took us just 10 more minutes to locate a beautiful pair … Read More

Bird Ringing, Chilika

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We owe our knowledge of bird migration to years of painstaking work by scientists. Since 2001, ornithologists from the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) have collaborated with the Chilika Development Authority (CDA) and the Odisha Forest Department to study the birdlife of Chilika. Between 2001 and 2005, 6161 birds of 63 species were fitted with specially numbered rings. A large proportion of the ringed birds were recaptured during subsequent seasons, proving that birds return to the same areas every year … Read More

Relocate Cheyyur Power Plant; Declare Area as Ecosensitive: Conservation NGO Urges Govt

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The 4000 MW Cheyyur coal power project in Kanchipuram district, Tamil Nadu, has high potential to irreversibly damage the Odiyur Lagoon, destabilise fisheries and increase the vulnerability of the area to flooding events, according to a scientific study titled “Evaluation of the Waterbirds of Odiyur Lagoon – a Wetland near the proposed Cheyyur Power Plant” by the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) and the Madras Naturalists’ Society (MNS). Releasing the report at a Press Conference today, Dr. Ravi Chellam, Vice … Read More

Pulicat Bird Sanctuary in Grave Danger

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Pulicat Bird Sanctuary, spanning northern Tamilnadu and southern Andhra Pradesh is the 2nd largest brackish water ecosystem in India. Hundreds of thousands of migratory waterfowl throng the lake from October to April, including large numbers of Greater and Lesser Flamingos. Efforts are underway through national conservation bodies such as Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) and Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural history (SACON) to declare it as a wetland of international importance and obtain for it the status of … Read More

GIB Campaign update — Rajasthan launches ‘Project Great Indian Bustard’

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With less than 200 left, will this magnificent bird be the first mega species to go extinct in India since the cheetah? Or can it be pulled back from the brink of extinction, like the California condor in America?

We are not crying wolf. A survey of recent literature — and discussions with experts — reveals that there may be less than 200 Great Indian Bustards (Ardeotis nigriceps) left in India. What’s worse, this tiny number is fragmented … Read More

The Nicobarese get their Megapode

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A unique bird, a unique island, and unique customs that bind them all.

On Oct 04, 2012, Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF) rejected a proposal to create a missile-firing testing system on Tillanchong island, a narrow strip of island in Nicobar.

Tillanchong is an unfamiliar name for many. Uninhabited except for a police post, the Navy chose this Nicobar island for erecting a missile range for shooting dummy missiles. Tillanchong is a long, narrow ridge of land, prone to … Read More

Bird Ringing Camp – Point Calimere, Tamil Nadu, Nov 6 to 11 and Dec 14 to 19, 2012

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Note – Dates are spread across 2 batches. Please see details below.

One of its kind, the Bird Migration Study Centre is a brainchild of Dr Balachandran, Deputy Director, BNHS. The first ever bird migration project in India was started in 1950s by the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS). Since then BNHS has ringed over 3,00,000 birds. This camp will be a stepping stone for serious amateurs, birders and wildlife enthusiasts. Dr Balachandran will be leading the group. This tour … Read More

Flamingos of Sewri get a respite

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Mumbai. A March afternoon. The din of cars, and the hot cloying air of the city. And then, we reach the mudflats of Sewri in South Mumbai. We are, suddenly and unexpectedly, looking at a lattice of pink, scarlet and white. 10,000 Lesser Flamingos, feeding calmly. Like ballerinas, they shift their wings and legs, suffusing the air with elegance.

The noise of the city becomes distant. At the mudflats of Sewri in South Mumbai, this Spring, the Lesser and Greater … Read More

New Species Of Bronzeback Tree Snake Discovered In Western Ghats

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A new species of snake has been discovered in the Western Ghats. The snake was first spotted by nature enthusiasts in Amboli village in Maharashtra in 2001. The snake is predominantly bronze coloured, arboreal and when aggressive, expand their skin to reveal a blue coloured skin between the scales.

In 2003, Varad Giri, a deputy director and curator of the herpetological collection with the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) saw a similar snake during his visit to Goa and took … Read More

National Level Plan Drawn To Protect Endangered Bustard And Floricans

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A draft plan for national recovery of the critically endangered Great Indian Bustard (Ardeotis nigriceps) and the endangered Lesser Florican (Sypheotides indica) has been submitted by a special task force to the MoEF. The ‘Draft Guidelines for Species Recovery Programmes’– is hosted on the MoEF website. Comments/suggestions are invited from civil society owithin a week of issue of this notification, the website says.

“There is an immediate need for an executable plan both at the … Read More

Diclofenac Ban Helps Vulture Populations

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The diclofenac ban of 2006 by the Govt. of India has helped arrest the decline in the population of vultures. This was the conclusion of a study by scientists representing the Royal Society for Protection of Birds (RSPB), the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) and the Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge. The study was presented to a gathering of scientists at the International Conference on Indian Ornithology, held at the Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History (SACON), … Read More

Flamingo Festival at the Sewri-Mahul mudflats in Mumbai

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The Bombay Natural History Society organized Flamingo Festival attracted a lot of visitors including children. The annual festival, organized since 2007, highlights the thousands of Flamingos that visit the Sewri-Mahul mudflats. However, the mudflats are at risk as they are the proposed starting point for the Sewri-Nhava trans harbour link. BNHS director, Asad Rahmani, believes there is a way to develop the Sewri-Nhava trans harbour link can be developed around the mudflats thus also making the link a world class … Read More

Workshop: Conservation of Endangered Black-necked Cranes

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A 2-day workshop, called ‘Cranes Calling’, was held in New Delhi for knowledge-sharing and information exchange among experts on conservation of Black-necked Cranes. The workshop was organized by WWF-India, MoEF, BNHS and Indian Bird Conservation Network (IBCN) and included delegates from India, China and Bhutan. Union Minister Jairam Ramesh was the chief guest. Mr. Ramesh remarked that conservation of Black-necked Cranes deserves special attention, not only because of the significance to nature, but because of the opportunities it brings for … Read More

Illegal Windmills Operating in Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary, Maharashtra

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Koyna sanctuary, a part of Sahyadri Tiger Reserve has about 200 windmills operating within the sanctuary boundaries. Around 500 trees have been estimated to have been chopped up for this purpose. Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) activist Nana Khamkar says that 250 endangered species of birds are found in the sanctuary and since the windmills have come, the birds have not been seen. An RTI application sent to the Forest Department has shown that the windmills have been setup without … Read More

Sathyamangalam Forests offer Safe Haven for Threatened Vultures

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Sathyamangalam, along with Wayanad, Nagarhole and Bandipur sanctuaries is offering a protective environment for vultures. Sathyamangalam and Moyar offer open scrub forests that make it easy for vultures to spot carcasses. Since the region is located on migratory paths of animals, carcasses are plentiful too. Vultures have faced over 99.9% decline in their population since 1990s, primarily due to the use of Diclofenac – a painkiller used in livestock. Over 40 vultures of three species were found in Sathyamangalam and … Read More

Jerdon’s Courser Species Recovery Plan Announced

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One of the most threatened bird species in India; Jerdon’s Courser (Rhinoptilus bitorquatus) is endemic to the state of Andhra Pradesh, India. Its extremely elusive and nocturnal behaviour makes it difficult to conserve this cursorial bird. International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Birdlife International have classified this one of the world’s rarest bird species under Critically Endangered (CR) status.

Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) along with the Royal Society for Protection of Birds (RSPB), Universities of … Read More