Celebrating bird days

Updated: Apr 02, 2020, 08:53 IST | Shunashir Sen | Mumbai

You can hear bird calls louder than before, but how much do you know about the winged creatures to identity them? Here are four online sources that help you spot, identify and marvel at nature's beauty

Sparrow
Sparrow

Reaching new heights

Magpie robin
Magpie robin

This user-friendly app does a thorough job of documenting the birds in the country. You get a checklist of species found in different cities like Mumbai or Bengaluru thanks to a bird-distribution map. There is also a Q&A forum where experts answer queries, and there is added data about the different levels of elevation that birds fly at. Dalvi, who conceptualised Vannya, tell us, "Let's say there is a ferry bird. It can fly at 1,500m above in a place like Maharashtra. But that same elevation drops to 300m in the Himalayas, and having such information helps you spot and photograph them based on your location."

Download Vannya

Taking the right call

Taking the right call

All the people we spoke to for this story are in agreement that this site is one of the best that is available to identify bird calls. The way it works is this. Say, you want to pinpoint a particular bird you've heard in Mumbai. What you then need to do is draw up a list of birds that are found in the city, and then check for their call on the site. But naturalist Shardul Bajikar tells us that the efficacy of the platform also makes it a hotbed for people who want to lure birds for trade or hunting. He says, "That's why information on birds that are popular for trade in the market, like hill mynah or shama, are not available on the site."

Log on to xeno-canto.com

Taking the right call

Help from the world

Help from the world

You can register for free on this site to find a wealth of information about rare bird species, given that people from across the world contribute to the website's database. Nature photographer Bharat Goel tells us, "Anyone can identify a peacock, but species like raptors and wabblers are more confusing. That's where this site helps. Every image has a tag that says where and when the photo was taken, and includes descriptions like whether the bird is male or female, since it can look different depending on the gender." The site has 1,75,586 photographs that cover 2,947 species, which means you are likely to find what you're looking for.

Log on to orientalbirdimages.org

Help from the world

It's a match

It's a match

This app makes things so simple for users that all you have to do is select the place where you stay. You then get a list of all the bird species found in your area, and you can identify one you might have spotted by matching it to a corresponding picture on the site. You can even report your own sightings, since the app encourages bird watchers from across the world to share their data, says wildlife biologist Shashank Dalvi. The only drawback is that it doesn't have a feature yet to identify bird calls.

Download ebird

It's a match

Spot these species

Spot these species

This is a time when most migratory birds are heading back to the Himalayas or Central Asia, which is why you will spot more resident species in Mumbai. These include common iora and Indian seimitar babbler, which are entering their breeding season right now. Then, right before the onset of monsoon, expect species like the Oriental dwarf kingfisher.

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