What's on in February

By eBird India February 6, 2016

Barn Swallow at Hyderabad. By Phani Krishna Raavi.

February is usually a month with lots of birding activity and events, and this year is no different. Here is a run-down on what’s going on this month.

The GBBC and Campus Bird Count

The blockbuster event is, of course, the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC), 12-15 Feb, during which people from across the world will spend four days looking for birds and reporting what they see on eBird. Last year, over 5,000 species were reported from over 100 countries during the GBBC. In India, nearly 1,000 birdwatchers took part, uploading 7,000 birdlists containing 735 species, the second highest species count after Ecuador! See more about last year’s results here.

Do join in this year for what looks to be the biggest GBBC in India yet — details are on the GBBC India webpage. All that’s needed is to look for birds for at least 15 minutes during 12-15 Feb, and upload the list of what you see to eBird. You can do this as often as you wish, and from as many locations as you wish over the four days. Also keep an eye out for the GBBC-India photo contest, which will be announced soon.

Running in parallel with the GBBC is the second annual Campus Bird Count, aimed at documenting the birdlife of campuses across India, and raising awareness about birds at the same time. If you live, study or work on an education or institutional campus, do join in! It’s a good opportunity to record what birds are found on campus, and to get others involved too. More about the Campus Bird Count is here.

Other events

A number of other events are happening during Feb. The annual Big Bird Day takes place on 7 February all over the country. Form a team, visit one or more locations, and upload your location lists to eBird. On the same day (7 Feb), the Manipal Bird Day is set to draw record numbers of birders and enthusiasts in that university town.

Continuing a years-old tradition, several HSBC Bird Races are scheduled for this month, including in Nagpur (7 Feb), Mumbai (14 Feb) and Hyderabad (21 Feb).

Ongoing projects during February including the Mysuru Bird Atlas, which is starting its third year in 2016. Birders are surveying 33 grid cells covering the entire city this month, and will repeat the surveys in June, just like that have been doing for the past two years.

A similar effort is also underway in the Kerala Bird Atlas, where birdwatchers are completing their second season of Atlas surveys in the districts of Thrissur and Alappuzha, and are preparing to expand the surveys to other districts in the coming months. The five-year plan to survey the entire state will result in the first systematic state-wide bird atlas for India.


In addition to these events, there are, of course, the usual monthly challenges. The global eBirding challenge for February is to submit at least 15 complete ‘no-X’ birdlists through the eBird Mobile smartphone app. Then there is the India eBirding challenge, which for this month, is to upload 20 eligible lists during the four days of the GBBC, and an additional 20 lists on other days in February. And don’t forget the different kinds of yearlong eBirding challenges for 2016!

Have a great birding February!