Saturday, November 28, 2020
Home Environment Here's How Bird Photography Leads to Discovery of New Species

Here’s How Bird Photography Leads to Discovery of New Species

Bird photography leads to discovery of species, says ornithologist


Bird photography as a hobby and profession has taken off to a major extent in India. It has led to important discoveries of species not previously known from the country, a globally renowned ornithologist said on Sunday.

In his latest paper published in BirdingASIA, the biannual bulletin on Asian birds, Nature Conservation Foundation Scientist K.S. Gopi Sundar told IANS the number of bird species in India is growing owing to improved genetic capabilities that have helped discern differences between birds that looked and sounded somewhat similar.

However, there is still a very slow growth in the understanding of individual species.

Please follow NewsGram on Instagram to get updates on the latest news

Autecology, or the science of how a species interacts with its surroundings, is the branch of ecology that assists scientists in determining where species are found and what they do.

For the vast majority of Indian bird species, this basic information is either absent or very poorly known, said Sundar, who is the Co-chair of the IUCN Stork, Ibis and Spoonbill Specialist Group.

bird photography
Bird photography as a hobby and profession has taken off to a major extent in India. Pixabay

Looking for a species for many years in multiple locations is the ideal way to improve knowledge of the species. But this takes time and more importantly resources that countries like India do not appear to be relegating to basic studies.

“Given this background, with some colleagues, I wanted to see if there are faster ways of improving knowledge of bird species using available resources that may not be being used as best as they could,” he said.

Please follow NewsGram on Twitter to get updates on the latest news

“The idea began when a small group of us saw a black-bellied form of the variable wheatear in Udaipur in 2018. The variable wheatear is a neat little black-and-white bird that migrates to India for the winter, and eats millions of insects while here,” he said.

“It is quite common in the northern parts, even seen inside cities and in farmlands. Also, the bird is interesting in having three distinct colour forms that vary in the quantity of white and black on the bird. Not surprisingly, exceedingly little is known of the ecology and requirements of this species in India.”

The black-bellied form was new for the researchers and therefore mildly exciting.

The only available information on this form was in field guides that compile all and any information they can get on birds to make maps that help people interested in birds.

Field guides suggested that the black-bellied form was found only in a small patch in Pakistan along the Indus river during the winter.

“By then, we had seen the form in three different locations in Udaipur. We waited for another winter, and behold, the black-bellied form appeared again in all the three locations of Udaipur. Clearly, existing information on this form needed updating,” he said.

bird photography
Bird photography has led to important discoveries of species not previously known from the country, a globally renowned ornithologist said. Pixabay

Bird photography as a hobby and profession has taken off to a major extent in India.

It has led to important discoveries of species not previously known from the country, and over-zealous photographers have also destroyed bird habitats and disturbed nesting birds.

Please follow NewsGram on Facebook to get updates on the latest news

But since the emergence of the internet, several institutions have set up forums for photographers to donate their images of birds, primarily to assist other people with identification.

“We scanned various portals for photographs of variable wheatears, and ended up with a database of over 540 photographers of the three forms that also had year and location,” he said.

“We created maps for all three forms and also assessed if any were being seem more in recent times. We discovered that our maps, created using photographs donated online by photographers, matched field guides only for one form. Two other forms of the variable wheatear were distributed much more widely than was suspected,” Sundar said.

Photographers, of course, do not go to all places equally, and some are more generous with their photographs than others.

Also Read- Transparency Documentary Series Review: Unique and Talks About the Working of AAP

“So it is likely that all three forms are distributed much more widely than what we have discovered. What was most exciting for us that it is possible to use already-available resources to create information on birds, however basic, in India,” he said.

With so many researchers following the lockdown to help combat the novel coronavirus, perhaps many more attempts could be made to see what other aspects of Indian birds the freely-available photographs online can reveal, Sundar added. (IANS)



Most Popular

Goddess Sati: The Hindu Goddess Of Marital Felicity And Longevity

Goddess Sati, also known as Dakshayani who is the Hindu Goddess of power and longevity. Sati was the daughter of Daksha, so she is called...

50 Percent Of Anemia Worldwide Is Due To Iron Deficiency: Report

According to the National Family Health Survey, in India, more than 50 percent of children, women of reproductive age, and pregnant women suffer from...

Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group Pledges To Eliminate Single-Use Plastic

One of the leading hotel chains in the world, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group had pledged to eliminate all single-use plastic, across its portfolio of...

Report: 78% Adults Indians Make A Conscious Effort To Build Immunity

The underlying message from COVID-19 was loud and clear if your immune system is weak or if you are suffering from any lifestyle disease...

The New F&B Destination Of Gurugram- The RYU Resto-Bar At 32nd Milestone

With delectable sushi platters to signature cocktails that leave you wanting more, RYU, a new Asian-themed bar, and diner in Gurugram's popular dining destination...

Tips To Help You Navigate The New Rules Of Dating In 2020

Single Indians are now ready to dip their toes back into dating in real life (IRL) as India unlocks. However, how does one do...

How To Become A Poker Pro

By Carol Trehearn Whether you’re completely new to the game of poker and are really enjoying the games you’ve played so far, or have spent...

A Buying Guide For Lanyards Amid COVID-19

By Cathy Carter COVID-19 has changed the way the world operates. Unimaginable lifestyle changes are adopted. You would have never thought of something as drastic...

Recent Comments