BNHS orginses Baya Weaver Count: Call for Participation Monitor the Indian Baya Weavers on World Environment Day
Weavers are highly gregarious, sparrow sized and popularly known for excellent nest-weaving skills, weaver birds have been residents of India since long. Among four species of weaver birds or Bayas, the ‘Indian’ Baya Weaver Ploceus philippinus is one of the most familiar and common birds in the country. These birds seem to be facing population decline due to the growing human population and development. In an attempt to assess their status, the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) announces a pan-India Baya Weaver Count onJune 05 and 12, 2016. BNHS invites all Indian bird watchers, ornithologists, NGOs, Forest Officials and nature lovers to record and report the sightings of Baya Weavers in their areas.
Know the Weavers
India is home to four species of weaver birds or bayas: Baya Weaver (Common Baya or Indian Weaver); Streaked Weaver; Black-breasted Weaver (Black-throated Weaver) and Finn's Weaver (Finn's Baya or Yellow Weaver), belonging to family Ploceidae. This is the only species which has suspended pendulous nests built in colonies, usually above water. It feeds on grains, seeds and insects and has a high-pitched voice. Breeding colonies are very noisy with lot of activity, some males bringing nesting material, while some males weaving thin threads into retort-shaped structures. The Baya has a polygamous breeding system i.e. one male has many females as mates, not necessarily at the same time. During breeding season between April and August, the Baya males acquire a distinctive yellow breeding plumage. All Indian weaver bird species are protected and listed in Schedule IV of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
Count the Weavers
Once a common species across India, it seems that most weaver birds are slowly undergoing a population decline with the increasing loss and modification of the grasslands into human-dominated landscape like agriculture farms, orchards, factories, canals, roads, and rapid increase in human population. This presents an urgent need to monitor this once common species so as collect population data across India to further reduce rates of habitat loss and degradation, along with promoting conservation awareness initiatives focusing on sustainable management of grasslands to maximize available grass habitat for grassland birds such as weaver birds.
Dr. Deepak Apte, Director, BNHS says “Being born in rural Maharashtra, Bayas were integral part of our backyard. Sadly when I visit my village now, I hardly see the beautiful nests of bayas. Declining population of one time common bird like Baya is a reflection of insidious damage we are doing to our immediate surroundings. Hence continuous monitoring of such species is imperative to understand and monitor changing environment.”
BNHS, under Common Bird Monitoring Programme (CBM), a citizen science initiative has organized this one day bird count to involve common people in bird monitoring and gathering data on this species. The participants can select any location of their choice and record the sightings of Baya Weavers. The collected data can be reported to us in a simple format which is available on following link:
What: Count the Weavers / Baya Weaver Count
When: Two consecutive Sundays – June 05 and 12, 2016
Who: Anyone with an interest in birds! This is a great opportunity to introduce your family and friends to the wonderful world of birds.
(1) Go for bird watching
(2) Record the sightings of Baya Weavers in your chosen location
(3) Submit your records on above mension link or send it to us on firstname.lastname@example.org
For further details: Contact Dr Rajat Bhargava on email@example.com or 9837122373 / Siddhesh Surve on firstname.lastname@example.org or 9930570365