Dear Fellow birdwatchers,
It is high time we shed our discrimination towards certain groups of birds.. Is it enough to observe only colourful birds? Are only some birds photogenic? More importantly, doesn’t each species play an important ecological function? As a step to bring about “socialism” in birding, Kole Birders, a collective of birdwatchers & biodiversity enthusiasts in Thrissur, is organizing a twin birding challenge.
The “Peep & Raptor challenges” start from Nov 1, 2017 and conclude on Jan 1, 2018.
Raptors, or Birds of Prey, refers to several species of birds that hunt and feed on rodents and other small animals. It includes Eagles, Ospreys, Kites, Hawks, Buzzards, Harriers, Vultures, Falcons, Owls etc. They are characterised by hooked beaks and strong talons.. Veritable killing machines of nature. They occupy the topmost level of the food chain and hence indicate the health of the ecosystem. Many of the individuals you see in the field may be immatures and difficult to identify to the species level.. But that’s the challenge!
Peeps include the birds in the genus “Calidris”.. They are small waders like stints some of which are very colourful in their breeding plumage, but visit us (Kerala) in their drab winter plumage. Most of these diminutive birds breed in the Arctic and travel all the way to our wetlands in winter! Some of them like the Spoon-billed Sandpiper are threatened with extinction.
To know more about peeps.. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calidrid
What to do?
Observe peep and raptor species and record them with photographs/calls/field notes. Update your observations in e-bird. Share the observations in the group id “kolebirders”. Prepare a Final list (Species & ebird checklist links) before Jan 1, 2018 and share it into our whatsapp group or send to our email id : [email protected].
Spread the words and your sightings through social media with hashtag #RaptorChallenge #PeepChallenge #Kole2017.
Where to observe?
Any Habitat bound by Chalakkudy River and Bharathupuzha.
The best Peep/Raptor observer will be awarded a complementary prize to encourage more birding! Prizes will be distributed during the occasion of Asian Waterbird Census (Annual Kole Survey 2018).
Let these twin-challenges be a challenge to yourself. After the end of this exercise, you should acquire the expertise to identify some of the most difficult birds to identify in the field! Let’s keep the competition healthy, but lively.
Vivek Chandran & Adhithyan NK
[Coordinators Peep & Raptor challenge 2017]