Celebrating bird days
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
Reaching new heights
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."
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
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
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.
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.
Catch up on all the latest Mumbai news, crime news, current affairs, and also a complete guide on Mumbai from food to things to do and events across the city here. Also download the new mid-day Android and iOS apps to get latest updates
Sign up for all the latest news, top galleries and trending videos from Mid-day.comSubscribe