Itanagar, May 10: Birdwatchers in the Himalayan regions of India, Nepal and Bhutan will come together on May 14 this year, to document as many birds of the mountain range.
From westernmost Ladakh to easternmost Arunachal Pradesh, this is the first edition of the Himalayan Bird Count (HBC) which is aimed at celebrating the incredible bird diversity and to bring attention to the threatened habitats of the Himalayas.
The event is being organised by Bird Count India, Bird Conservation Nepal and Bhutan-based Royal Society for Protection of Nature, to bring the Himalayan birding fraternity together for a common good.
The organisations have collectively decided to do the event on Endemic Bird Day to spread awareness about Himalaya's bird biodiversity, a press release informed here on Tuesday.
The Himalaya has fascinated millions by its sheer might and beauty. The snow-capped mountains, the cold deserts, the lush green forests and grasslands, and the white waters of the rivers are home to several unique birds. But these fragile ecosystems and their inhabitants are threatened by rapid warming at a rate estimated to be three times faster than the global average.
"Himalayan Bird Count can provide consistent, snapshot information of bird diversity in a region that is increasingly threatened by climate change. This kind of information, across years, can help us understand what is happening to our country's birds," said Dr Ghazala Shahabuddin, Senior Fellow at the Centre for Ecology, Development and Research (CEDAR), working in Kumaon Hills of Uttarakhand.
The biological diversity of the Himalaya is under unprecedented threat due to large-scale infrastructure development too.
"Himalayan Bird Count is a hugely exciting event that brings scientists and experts together with regular citizens to understand what is happening to birds in one of the planet's most iconic mountains," said Dr Sahil Nijhawan, scientist at Nature Conservation Foundation, who has worked extensively in Arunachal Pradesh.
"It will give us a glimpse of the status of birds across the Himalayas - an important indicator of the health of this fragile ecosystem on which millions of people depend," he added.
The basic activity of the event is to watch and count birds from anywhere in the listed Himalayan region on the day, for at least 15 minutes and uploads bird lists to the bird recording platform eBird (www.Ebird.Org/india).
Lobzang Visuddha, member of Wildlife Conservation and Birds Club of Ladakh says, "We will be celebrating this event with several bird walks and trails across Ladakh - in Nubra Valley, Hanley, Changthang, Sham Valley, Zangakar, Kargil and others."
"Birds of Jammu and Kashmir has formed a team of volunteers for the event. We are expecting observations from some of the most remote and inaccessible areas of Kashmir Himalayas," informed Dr Parmil Kumar from University of Jammu.