The pandemic has lead to mass migration of people to thier hometown as it has allowed many of us to work remotely. Having been around at my hometown Udupi which is situated in the lap of western ghats and at the coast, I am back in town after 10 long years of being away.
Udupi is very similar to Goa visually with the similar vibrant greenery, the coconut palms, a beautiful shoreline and waterbodies. My stay away from Udupi and in very highly commercialized and industriliazed towns has made me see the effects of poorly planned development at the cost of environment. This has increased my appreciation of the natural beauty afforded to Udupi by nature.
Here I write about the beauty I observed in Udupi during my stay here in 2020-2021.
We have a variety of birds visiting us and I have always wanted to know more about them. My curiosity lead me to read about the birds native to Udupi, Karnataka, Western ghats, India however, I did not find many articles. Hence I believe this documentation may help to
i)Catalog birds that exist in Udupi in the year 2021
ii)Which of these birds are a rare sight now and why
iii)What can we do to preserve their habitat
iv)What do these birds do, what do they eat, do they migrate,how do they help maintain ecological balance
Knowing more about these details help us understand the effect our activities have on these species. Knowing more about them helps us humanize them and care about their habitat and conserving it. After all, if we conserve their habitat we are indirectly building a better future for ours.
To start out, it helps to get a visual of the bird. However, in dense foliage it can be a challenge. In such a case, familiarizing yourself with the bird call and then checking on the internet for birds of your region and their calls can help you locate them as well.Some birds like the Indian rufous have never been spotted by us, however with the help of the ebird app, I was able to identify its name by matching the call pattern.
The more I tried to understand these birds, it lead to me a lot of videos ,articles and studies which may interest birdlovers or beginners who may want to know more. Links for the references I came across have been shared in below article.
In the month of April 2021, with my mother’s help, I was able to locate,identify and map these birds based on their calls and description. Sometimes, only the bird calls are audible and the birds are hidden by the foliage , this is when secondary research is required and reaching out to fellow bird lovers helps. Since I am an amature at bird photography, I will use images available online for illustration purposes.
Based on th articles found online, these are mainly birds that are local to the western ghats and the estuaries and waterbodies that are found here. There have been no mention of their migrating to far off lands. Their diet includes fruits, insects,nectar etc and not many except the Red whiskered bulbul have adapted to human presence. This particular insight was validated as true as after a week of putting out a birdbath in our balcony which has minimal human presence and enough safe zones for the birds, we observed that only the red whiskered bulbuls approached it for a quick drink and dunk dance.
Bird calls themselves can be very fasinating to study and catalog. I have often wished to check if someone has catalogued different types of calls and what they indicate. While looking for this information, I came across eBird.org which is managed by Cornell lab of Ornithology. They have an ebird app which can be used to keep track of birdlists, sounds and join the world’s birding community.This app was very helpful in my attempt to map the bird calls to name of the bird and even add lists of birds I identified in my location.
Cornell lab also manages allaboutbirds.org which has bird sound visualiation apps and explains how birds emit different sounds and the sound patterns that emerge as a waveform that can be used to associate bird call patterns with the birds. Please check the link for more
Here is the list of birds in Udupi that I have encountered so far:
Oriental Magpie Robin:
This is a curious little bird which loves to peek into our bedroom through the window once in a while.
Black naped monarch
White cheeked barbett
Olive backed sunbird
Red whiskered bulbul
Racket tailed drongo
Indian Paradise Flycatcher:
With all this information, I hope I have helped whet your appetite for birding and shared pointers to help you to start on your journey.