It’s the start of the new year and January is, of course, peak birdwatching season. A number of exciting birds are being seen across the country, such as Amur Falcons in Kerala, Great Bittern near Noida, Red-breasted Merganser in Mumbai, and more.
By now, most migrants should settled into their wintering sites. And while there may not be much to look out for in terms of migratory movements – January also signals the commencement of the breeding season for some of our resident birds. Raptors across the country and several birds in the southern states choose this time of the year to breed and it may be worth looking out for any signs of displaying, mating/courtship behaviour, collecting nesting material, etc. Remember to mark these observations using one of the available breeding codes.
January is full of events! The big one, of course, is the Asian Waterbird Census. The AWC is a multi-country survey that is part of the International Waterbird Census. In India, the AWC has been conducted for nearly 30 years. The preferred dates for the AWC this year are from 7 to 22 January, but surveys/counts from any date in January are welcome. Please do join this annual effort to survey wetlands and waterbirds!
The Karnataka Bird Festival is being hosted in Hampi on 5-7 January. Also in Karnataka, the annual Kaiga Bird Marathon is being held on 14 January. Several birders will be taking part in the Bangalore Bird Race on 22 January. Alongside the Bird Race, the Bangalore Waterfowl Census is currently ongoing (since 24 December 2016) and ends on 29 January.
If you’re in Tamil Nadu on 15-18 January, celebrate the harvest by taking part in the annual Pongal Bird Count. You can also take part in the Chennai Bird Race on 22 January. Birders in Maharashtra can attend the Dombivli Bird Race will be held on 15 January. The Maharashtra Pakshimitra Sammelan will be held on 7-8 January. Indore plays host to the next in the series of workshops conducted by Bird Count India on 22 January. The last bird race for the month is scheduled for 29 January in Ahmedabad.
The eBird India challenges continue in to the new year too. The monthly eBirding challenge for January is to upload lists with media in them while the gap-filling challenge continues with the same motives as in the previous months (to survey underexplored districts). There is also the global eBirding challenge to take part in, which simply asks you to submit 31 checklists this month. The new yearlong eBirding challenges have also been announced. You can also take part in the ongoing patch birding challenge. Also announced in this month is the very exciting Last Birder Standing contest in which the target is to record a birdlist every day for as long as you can manage.