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Celebrate WSD with CBMI this year

In every community, there is work to be done. In every nation, there are wounds to heal. In every heart, there is the power to do it. –Marianne Williamson

During your schooldays, when you were asked to write an article on environmental degradation, you would have always written in the solution part, “We must help to redress the harm done to nature”. Huh! Very easy to say but the real question is how many of us practice these virtues today? Many a times it is not that you have forgotten your ethics learnt at school. But you could not find a platform from where to launch your initiative.

This year, to do your tiny bit for the Sparrows and other common birds, all you need to do is take the support of your school/college authorities to put up the CBMI poster in their institution. A one-of-its-kind initiative, CBMI is a citizen science project that urges people to just take out 15 minutes of their time to monitor birds in and around their homes, offices and educational institutions.

Ms. Taneja with CBMI poster at her college (Lady Sriram College) in Delhi

Ms. Taneja with CBMI poster at her college (Lady Sriram College) in Delhi

However, such initiatives can never be successful without the wholehearted support of people, especially volunteers. The only reason why India lacks relevant scientific data on current common bird species distribution and numbers is due to the logistical, manpower and monetary challenges that bird monitoring faces. CBMI wants to bridge this gap by collaborating with people like you. CBMI aims to bring together the enthusiastic citizens of the country for monitoring common bird species. The citizens report bird sightings to CBMI, which the latter will scientifically synthesize and statistically analyze through its researchers.

Come and be a part of this project. This is ‘your’ time to rise and take a step forth to do something which has never been done before in the nation. Remember, ‘a responsible citizen is not the one who yells the river is dirty, but the one who cleans it up’.

Time is running out! Be a part of the one of its kind event. To join, use the following links:

To volunteer, shoot an email to arpita@natureforever.org with your area of interest, skills and contact number.

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My Travel with Birds of a feather

It was Day 2 of our ride through East-West Godavari. We were in fact headed for a dear friend’s wedding in the West. That as reason enough to head out on our loyal motorcycles from our hometown Visakhapatnam.

We had a simple itinerary and had plans to visit Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary, as it was en-route. We were expecting a very minimal turnout of birds here, as we were disappointed with our visit to Kolleru just few weeks before. The number of birds, and also the variety of species has greatly dwindled there, probably due to the illegal fish ponds and encroachments. However, at Coringa, we were in for one surprise after another, and we spotted nearly 10 new species of birds, we had never recorded earlier. It was by all means an extremely satisfying visit. Coringa is a must visit for bird lovers. The only disadvantage is that the sanctuary opens only after 9:00 AM, so the best time to visit it is after 3:00 PM.

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Anyways, after that extremely satisfying trip, we set out next day from Yanam towards Amalapuram, Narsapur towards our friend’s village near Pallakollu. By the time we were near the our friend’s village, it was nearly 5 pm. And just when we zipped past a tiny rice mill go-down, Vivek, pillion riding, jumped up and screamed as if I had just hit someone. I hastily stopped and was about to shout back at him, when he screamed “50 parrots sitting in one place”. We turned back and headed back to the spot, when we got to see this amazing picture of not 50 but nearly 100 or more parrots, perched up on rice bags, and feeding. It was a sight to behold. From afar, it appeared as if the rice bags were covered with leaves. The nearer we got, the louder the cackling got. They were having a field time. There were mill workers nearby, but none of them shoo’ed away the birds. That was even more heart warming to watch. It also shows that there are compassionate people and maybe people who still revere parrots (Hindu mythology states parrots as auspicious and holy).

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I could barely sustain myself. I was jumping around and ran off with the camera to get as close as I could to the birds. I had a tough time, because there were too many birds doing too many things. Alexandarine Parakeets, Rose ringed parakeets, pigeons, were present in plenty. Each one different from the other, in plumage and appearance. Some of them, busy pecking at the bags, while some were cozying up on the nearby coconut trees. Some of them hanging upside down on the coconut leaves, while some having an evening chat perched on the nearby power cables. Someone or something disturbed them and then all of the parrots took flight. It was a sight to behold.

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In the background were lush green paddy fields and the foreground now was hundreds of parrots in flight. The sun was behind us and the colors we saw are indescribable in words. After about 45 minutes, we were reminded of time, by the constant calls from one of our co-travelers, who was left stranded a little ahead. We had to bid adieu to the lovely sight, one which we never grew tired of, for it is rarely we find such scenes of hundreds of birds in a flock. In the days of the restless and fast, it reminded me that it’s great to take a break now and then, sit back and enjoy nature at its work. Such sights are going to be a rarity if we do not take actions towards protecting them, and consequently us, humans.

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Let the birds of freedom, fly free, in the winds, non-contaminated with the selfishness of humans.

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