Take part in the national conservation initiative and enjoy your counting!

2019-02-14

Flamingo Count

23rd -24th February 2019

Organised by BNHS

Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) announces the first coordinated Flamingo Count. Both Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus rosues and Lesser Flamingo Phoeniconaias minor will be covered during the count. BNHS invites Government Institutions, Indian Bird Conservation Network (IBCN) members, birdwatchers, NGOs, ornithologists, researchers, academicians and nature lovers across India to participate mega count event. Flamingo count will be conducted in two phases at a pan-India level. The first phase will be conducted on 23rd-24th February 2019, participants are encouraged to visit any of the short-listed sites or any site of their choosing where flamingos are seen.   

Kindly choose a preferable date from 23rd to 24th February 2019 and contribute your valuable time and information for our sentinels in pink.

About Flamingo Count

This is the first initiative for a coordinated PAN-India flamingo count. BNHS has undertaken several studies including colour tagging, satellite tracking of Greater Flamingo and conservation actions in the past decades. Currently, BNHS is monitoring both Lesser and Greater Flamingo population in some locations including the Mumbai seascape. In 2017, BNHS developed colour banding scheme for flamingos in India in consultation with international agencies and has colour banded several individuals of both species. BNHS has also identified both the species under priority list of birds which needs immediate conservation interventions. These two species are also included in the India’s National Action Plan for Conservation of Migratory Birds and their habitats along Central Asian Flyway (CAF) by Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), Government of India.  Species action plan are underway for conservation of these two species and their habitats in India. Hence, BNHS has planned an all India flamingo count which will be conducted in two phases one in February and the other in April 2019. The dates for the first phase count is declared as 23rd-24th February, 2019.

Flamingo count and meeting conservation goals

The Central Asian Flyway (CAF), one among the nine flyways in the world, encompasses overlapping migration routes over 30 countries for different waterbirds linking their northern most breeding grounds in Russia (Siberia) to the southernmost non-breeding (wintering) grounds in the Maldives and the British Indian Ocean Territory. India has a strategic role in the flyway, as it provides critical stopover sites to over 90% of the bird species known to use this migratory route.

The India’s National Action Plan (NAP) for conservation of migratory birds and their habitats (2018-2023) states the national priority and specific actions required to ensure healthy populations of migratory species in India, within their range across the flyway. The overall longer-term goal of the NAP is to arrest population decline and secure habitats of migratory bird species. In shorter-term the action plan seeks that by 2027, to halt the downward trends in declining meta-populations and maintain stable or increasing trends for healthy populations. One of the action plan’s specific objectives is to ‘improve database and decision-support systems to underpin science-based conservation of species and management of habitats’ through communication and outreach along with research and knowledgebase development.

The NAP also has proposed to formulate and implement Single Species Action Plan (SSAP) for coordinated conservation of 20 priority waterbird species. Both Greater and Lesser flamingos have been included as priority species in the NAP. An all India count will be useful in creating and assessing the current population trend of both the species which in turn will help in preparing the SSAP. As this work is initiated through the citizens science, this also fulfil another activity of the NAP to promote migratory bird conservation initiatives through raising public awareness and local peoples’ participation, including citizen science groups.

How to participate 

The available literatures, counts and present and past studies by BNHS report that the distribution of both the flamingos are mostly restricted to Peninsular India. We have short-listed major flamingo congregation sites by referring available literature, past and present BNHS studies, Asian Waterbird Counts (AWC) and e-bird India database. However, participants who would like to cover some other sites (which are not given in the list) are more than welcome to do so. Participant can inform us the sites they can cover during the proposed date (contact us on flamingocount@bnhs.org). This information will enable the BNHS coordinator to monitor in case more than one team would have chosen the same site or the sites which is not visited at all.

When to visit

Participants can choose any of the day (23rd – 24thFebruary 2019) or both the dates whichever is feasible for them. Counts should ideally start around 0700 hours for the inland sites. For the sites where, flamingo movements are depended on sea tides, in that case the counts could be conducted when the congregation is highest. Evening counts in good light conditions are also encouraged in case the morning hours are not suitable owing to the sea tides.

How to Count

Actual numbers of individuals can be counted if the birds are in small flocks which can be counted easily. Total number of birds found in the whole area can be noted in the datasheet. If the flocks are scattered or tightly packed, or at distant, or in flight; ‘Block counting’ method shall be adopted. This method involves counting or estimating a "block" of birds within a flock. Depending on the overall flock size a "block" can be 10, 100 or 1,000 birds. The "block" is then used as a model to measure the remainder of the flock. After estimating the total number of birds, fill in the data sheet for Lesser and Greater flamingos’ numbers. For example, in the figure given below the first square from left has 25 birds. So, 25×8 (total number of squares) = 200 and 16 birds are outside the squares and hence in total 216 birds.

Filling and sending the datasheet

The datasheet is available as (Fill in form and google forms given below), the participant just can download or fill the google forms online. The data collected in the field and noted on the datasheet must be entered onto datasheet in word format or in google forms whichever is comfortable for the participant. Datasheet have three parts: the first one is information about the participants; second part is for the count and site details and third part is for flamingo count. Separate datasheet needs to be used/filled for each site if the participants are visiting more than one site. Same way separate datasheet is to be filled for each date i.e., 23rd and 24th February. If the participants are counting in groups for the same site then a single datasheet needs to be submitted having all the group members name in the datasheet.

Submitting the data sheet

Participant can directly fill the google form. Or else, the fill-in form in word format (given below) had to be sent to the National coordinator at flamingcount@bnhs.org. Please kindly give your contact details in the data sheet to contact for any information or clarifications. Once we receive your datasheets for the count, you will receive an appreciation letter from the Bombay Natural History Society for your contribution.

Identifying Greater and Lesser flamingos

Flamingos could be among the world’s most recognized birds but here’s a quick identification guide between the two.

NOTE

  1. Please fill the given datasheet either in word/google form formats (do not edit the datasheet, just add your information in the space provided.
  2. Please e-mail your completed datasheet to  flamingocount@bnhs.org  as soon as the count is over.
  3. Avoid sending photographs of the datasheets.
  4. Photographs of the count, team, site and species can be sent along with the filled data sheet with due captions to the Coordinator at flamingocount@bnhs.org.
  5. The data could be submitted as soon as the count is over preferably within a month time.
  6. If any ringed bird is sighted during the count, kindly fill write to us on at bands@bnhs.org.

Your safety is the first priority. Therefore, take care and necessary precautions during the count.

For any queries and clarifications, please contact

Ms. Madhumita Panigrahi 

Scientist-B

National Coordinator- Flamingo count
Bombay Natural History Society,
Hornbill House,
Opp. Lion Gate, S.B. Singh Road,
Mumbai-400 001, India.
Phone No: -+91-22-22821811 (Office) (Extn. No. 332)

Email: flamingocount@bnhs.org

Website: www.bnhs.org

Google form List of sites Flamingo datasheet