Survey spots 193 bird species in Gujarat’s Dharoi dam – The Indian Express

Birdwatchers sighted 193 species — 44 more than the existing records — during the two-day bird survey at Dharoi dam in north Gujarat that concluded Sunday.
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The survey, conducted by the forest department in collaboration with the Bird Conservation Society of Gujarat (BCSG) and a local resort in Polo forest in Sabarkantha, was the maiden formal exercise to map the avifauna diversity at the irrigation tank, a wetland.
“During the survey, birders recorded 193 species of birds. This is 44 more than 149 species enlisted in bird checklists available on e-Bird,” said Uday Vora, a retired forest officer who is currently serving as a joint-secretary of BCSG. The 193 species included a huge number of waterbirds, passerines, woodland birds as well as common birds such as house crows and house sparrows, he added.
eBird is a globally popular portal on which birders across the globe share their sightings during birding trips.
The survey was conducted in 102 square kilometres (sqkm) of the 105.66 sqkm submergence area of Dharoi Dam located in Kheralu taluka of Mehsana district. “This is an excellent birding site just 100 kilometers away from Ahmedabad,” Vora further said.
“The objective was to introduce this wetland to birdwatchers from various parts of Gujarat and to help them understand the importance of irrigation tanks. Irrigation dams are primarily for the purpose of making water available for irrigation but eventually they end up becoming attractions for birds,” Dr Bakul Trivedi, honorary secretary of BSCG said. Further, he said species richness and population abundance at a wetland in Gujarat are affected by various factors like rainfall in different parts of the state.
“If such surveys are conducted at all the dams of the state, we may be able to understand how different factors affect species richness and population of birds in wetlands in Gujarat and can recommend necessary steps to the state government and also bring about public awareness about bird conservation,” Dr Trivedi added.

“We shall keep analysing the data collected by 60 birdwatchers across the state who participated in the survey. This will help in enhancing our understanding of bird diversity of this wetland and Dharoi Dam as a habitat of birds,” Mayur Rathod, a birdwatcher who runs Adams Nature Retreat Resort in Polo forest in Sabarkantha, said.
The resort had collaborated with the Sabarkantha division of Gujarat forest department and BCSG for conducting the bird survey. “Birders recorded black-necked storks, a good number of grey-leg geese, red-crested pochards and many other bird species. A group of birders are also claiming to have sighted pied stilts — the migratory waders from Australia, but we are verifying further details,” said Rathod.
Black-necked storks are categorised as near-threatened species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). It is considered a rare bird in Gujarat.
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