On February 10th of 2017 an email appeared in my inbox from Usha Lachungpa (State Coordinator GBBC in Sikkim) stating the participation for Big Bird Day from each corner of the country. The summarised mail content asked participation from for each and every gener of people from different occupation. The major objective was to protect birds and to promote awareness in the entire state and letting every people know about the importance of protecting avian fauna.
Two bodies were made one for individuals, enthusiasts, group of birders, bird tour operators; which was listed as GBBC (or Great Backyard Bird Count) and another one was for students, organizations, institutions; which was listed as CBC (or Campus Bird Count). The date window for this country wise census was fixed as 17th to 20th of February 2017.
The participants for this needed to perform following tasks
1. To look for birds for at least 15 minutes for four days 17-20 Feb, as often as he/she wish, and from as many locations as they can over the four days.
Around their house, balcony, in neighbourhood, during morning / evening / night walks, during office break, on school or college campus, anywhere convenient for them.
2. After bird watching, they had to upload the list of what they saw and listed to eBird. That's it!
Participants were told to involve non-birders, and if possible, hold a local event with their friends and colleagues.
When so was done, the volume of information generated; had been kept in the eBird repository and in future that can be used by many as habitat ecology, health of our habitats, besides being more useful to us than we to them! It was an open invitation to become Citizen Scientists!!
The Organizers / Bird Tour Operators / Individuals / Institutions / NGOs who conducted the bird count across the state of Sikkim has been listed below. The commonest of birds had also accounted and later uploaded on the international birding portal eBird.later upload on the international birding portal eBird. This way Sikkim can also showcase its birds and people recording them on an international platform.
GoingWild, one of the leading bird watching tour operator from India, specialises in bird photography and tiger tourism for the past five years; coordinated for bird count near Gangtok at Fambong Lho Wildlife Sanctuary. Dibyendu Ash, one of the founder member of GoingWild participated in the event and covered birding in and around Gangtok area, at Fambong Lho Wildlife Sanctuary and a newly developed ecotourism zone - Nampong-Likngdak. The list of birds he saw can be downloaded directly from the link given below.
Roshan Kaushik coordinated through Lakshya Organization based at Lower Kitam on the fringe of Kitam Bird Sanctuary (one of Sikkim's IBA). He is a bird enthusiast from Kitam and have recently formed Fraternity for Avian Life Conservation (FALCON). We hope they will take care of bird counts in their area in future as well.
Sikkim Ornithological Society (SOS) members were also invited to carry forward GBBC in their respective areas and upload their sightings on eBird.
Urbanites, Gangtokians, folk in Mangan, Namchi, Geyzing, Jorethang, Pakyong and other semi-urban areas also sighted and listed birds from their respected areas - a record of even Sparrows, Crows birds were listed (since, consider "common" are actually not so common these days). Hence their records as Citizen Scientists were very important. Shared birdlist can be found at http://www.birdcount.in/events/gbbc/gbbc2017/
Campus Bird Count were done by Sikkim University, Sikkim Government College and Namchi Goverment College in their respective areas over these four days.
Independent Birders as well involved in this event.
We from GoingWild request you all to share the event with your non-birding friends so they too can enjoy and add their bit of Citizen Science to GBBC-2018, 2019, 2020, ..... and so on.
Best wishes for fruitful GBBC and CBC in future years as well from Team GoingWild!