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| Last Updated:17/03/2020

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India reports largest number of bird species

NEW DELHI: India is home to the largest number of bird species in the world. Preliminary findings of a recent global event — Great Backyard Bird Count — have put India on top of the list of 127 countries which sent their entries through pictures and videos. 

Final results of the four-day Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC), held between February 14 and 17, are yet to be announced but the data analyzed and updated till February 28 shows that the final order may not change India's position. 

A US newspaper, The 
Kansas City Star, flagged the preliminary findings of the global bird count first on February 22. 

In its report, 'Want to see a wide variety of birds? Head to India', the daily said, "India's emergence as a bird-watching hot spot underscores the rising worldwide popularity of the pastime." It put India on top with 765 species. The US came second with 637 species (till February 22). 

Latest updates, checked by TOI on Sunday, however, showed that though the US slipped to third spot a week after the American daily first flagged the preliminary results, India continues to maintain its lead. 

The GBBC is jointly organized by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the National Audubon Society and the Bird Studies Canada. Though the US and Canada have been participating in the event since 1998, the first ever such 'global' bird count was organized in 2013 when participants from 110 countries sent their entries during February 15-18 last year. 

Bird watchers from all seven continents had last year reported and documented 4,258 species from about 180 bird families. Mexico had topped the 2013 GBBC list with 645 species followed by the US (638), India (544), Costa Rica (508), Colombia (424), Australia (383), Panama (371) and Peru (325). 

The second version of the global bird count, updated till February 28, however, showed that participants from 127 counties this time found 4,296 species with India reporting the highest number of 819 species followed by Mexico (683), USA (644), Costa Rica (609), Australia (501), Colombia (397), Panama (278) and Peru (138). 

The event was launched in 1998 as the first online citizen-science project to collect data on wild birds and to display results in near real-time. Participants during the event period send snapshots of birds as their entries which are subsequently analyzed and documented by the organizers before displaying final results of the GBBC. 

The participants will unite once again next year during February 13-16 to see how many of the world's 10,240 bird species can be found.

The Times of India (03-03-2014)