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| Last Updated:02/04/2018

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80 avian species recorded at bird count in OU

It might seem hard to believe, but the Osmania University campus, right in the heart of the city, is actually home to dozens of different species of birds, including some rare migratory birds that fly up to 20,000 kms to reach here. In fact, OU was the only college campus in Hyderabad where the Campus Bird Count 2018 was held as part of Great Backyard Bird Count conducted this year from February 16-19 in Telangana. And, city birder Raghunathan spotted a whopping 80 different bird species on the campus on a single day!

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An avid birder for the past three years, Raghunathan who frequents the sprawling 1600-acre campus admits that he too was taken by surprise by the sheer variety of birds he was able to spot.
“To be frank, I started my passion by exploring OU as it was the greenest place near my house. I have been birding frequently for the past three years, but what I saw on February 17 surprised me. There’s a small pond on campus where most of the birds come to drink water, so I patiently waited there recording each bird and listening to them chirp. I began the survey at 12 pm by 6 pm I had spotted 80 species, including many rare migratory birds. I think this is an enviable figure since the campus is situated in the heart of the city amid lot of traffic and human disturbances,” said the 24-year-old Padma Rao Nagar resident who was the only registered campus bird watcher this year.
The findings of the survey were later uploaded on the website of the international birding website, ebird.org, which provides an online database of bird observations all over the world.
What thrilled Raghunathan most was the fact that he was able to spot elusive birds like Hair-Crested-Drongo, which otherwise prefer thick and dark forests. “This suggests that OU has real potential to become a major spot for birders. unfortunately, this spot has been overlooked by city birders as well,” he says, adding that migratory birds like Forest Wagtail, Olive Backed Pipit, Taiga Flycatcher and Red Breasted Flycatcher, which have a long flying range of up to 20,000 km come to stay at the OU campus during the winter, from September to February. “The Forest Wagtail flies up to Africa; India is only a short pitstop for the bird, which breeds in Russia, China and Indonesia,” said Raghunathan who points out that most of the winged visitors to OU come from far flug areas around the snow-filled Himalayan ranges.


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Apart from migratory birds, OU has many species of common birds like parrot, and owls which are seen in huge numbers, said Raghunathan.
This news has gotten birding enthusiasts in the city excited. They are of the view that OU has the potential to emerge as a hot spot for city birders. “OU campus offers a variety natural habitats for birds and we have spotted many rare birds frequently here. Day by day, birding is improving. If more birders make the campus their preferred destination, more species will be recorded,” shared Abhishek Ravindra of Hyderabad Birding Pals.
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However, recent development activities like construction of new hostels are posing a major challenge to the natural habitats, rue birders, adding that fires can break out in the campus anytime due to dumping of garbage. “All this greenery can be reduced to mere ash in summer, if the authorities do not take the necessary measures,” added Raghunathan.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/80-avian-species-recorded-at-bird-count-in-ou/articleshow/63417380.cms