If you're concerned about the diminishing number of the twitter of the sparrow-sized 'Indian' baya weaver, here's a chance to head out and take stock of what's remaining of these pretty-winged creatures. With a dip in population of the bird species, the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) has organized a countingexercise of the species over two consecutive Sundays , beginning June 5.
The birds, with excellent nest-weaving skills, seem to be facing a population decline due to the burgeoning human population coupled with the furious pace of development. Once a common species in the country, most weaver birds seem to be witnessing a slide in numbers.
Director of BNHS Dr Deepak Apte concurs on this. "Being born in rural Maharashtra, bayas were an integral part of our backyard. Sadly, when I visit my village now, I hardly see the beautiful nests of bayas," said Dr Apte. "Its declining population is a reflection of the insidious damage we are doing to our immediate surroundings. Hence, continuous monitoring of such species is imperative to understand and monitor the changing environment."
India hosts four weaver bird species, all of which are protected and listed in schedule IV of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. Of these four, the baya weaver is the only one which has suspended pendulous nests built in colonies, usually above water.
BNHS has, under its citizen science initiative titled 'Common Bird Monitoring Programme', organized this count to involve people in bird monitoring and gathering of data on this species. Participants can select any location and record sightings of baya weavers . The sightings can be reported to BNHS.
Project coordinator Siddhesh Surve said, "We are planning this as an annual exercise to get a trend of the bird number," said Surve.