Fly to the finish line

While several Mumbaikars ran for a cause at the Mumbai Marathon, here’s an event where you can work for a cause while you run around the city – Mumbai BirdRace.

Blue-Headed Rockthrush spotted during an earlier edition of Mumbai BirdRace. PICs Courtesy/clement francis

This daylong event divides bird-lovers in the city into groups of four, who then race around the city in selected geographical locations and spot and identify as many species of birds as possible. The combined finding of the teams is then compiled at the end of the day, providing rich material for the researchers, and the condition of the avian habitats in the city.

Last year, the total tally of birds spotted was 257 species, where a few teams spotted as many as 125 different species. The BirdRace has, over the years, also been credited for having spotted 20 new bird species. Apart from statistics, the event also aims at highlighting different issues such as loss of bird habitats, effects of infrastructural expansion on birds and also the scarcity of bird-attracting trees in the city.

Verditer Flycatcher spotted during an earlier edition of Mumbai BirdRace

It is mandatory for every team to have at least one experienced bird watcher who is capable of identifying most of the species; this also helps beginners and even children be a part of the event. There aren’t any pre-determined routes and participants can watch birds in multiple locations all within 40 km radius off the limits of Mumbai. “Every year, we have managed to successfully spot some species of birds, not usually seen in the city. We hope to do the same this year too,” says environmentalist Sunjoy Monga, one of the main organisers of the event.

On January 27
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