Guest column: Birds get a free run during lockdown

Lots of the fowl species in Lalbagh have been sighted in smaller gardens within the neighbourhood

Somewhat into the lockdown each this yr and in 2020, movies, photographs and write-ups of peafowl (the peacock is simply the male) began popping up on social media and within the information. And there have been movies from Lalbagh too. Although folks had reported sightings of peafowl sporadically previously from there, it was by no means frequent. However with the lockdown, they had been there proper alongside Krumbiegel Highway too.

This yr once more, the birds appear to have moved in proper after the lockdown was carried out, albeit a little bit quicker. Two of them, each females, had been sighted in numerous elements of Lalbagh.

The power of birds to fly offers them higher mobility than most animals. It’s not that each one birds preserve shifting from place to put even when they’ll, and a few, like our widespread sparrow, are recognized to dwell fairly sedentary lives. Others which can be nesting don’t transfer from place to put throughout that interval. Most migratory birds, which come south, begin shifting again to the colder north by April, and they’re nearly fully passed by the top of the month. So the birds that had been uncovered to the consequences of the lockdown right here had been our resident species. They breed when the migratory birds have left and are not there to compete for meals in Could and June.

However over Lalbagh and the neighbouring Basavanagudi, folks have seen some adjustments. Lots of the fowl species in Lalbagh, which had been largely confined to the greenery there, have been sighted wandering into even small residential gardens within the neighbourhood. The Paradise Flycatcher, which is sometimes present in Lalbagh, is one such fowl. The Crimson Whiskered Bulbul, a vigorous little fowl with very cheerful calls, could possibly be seen even on as soon as busy streets which have small bushes alongside them in Gandhi Bazaar. The extra lively Gray Tit could possibly be discovered on bushes on numerous streets, together with on J.C. Highway, which was unthinkable earlier.

The variety of Golden Backed Woodpecker elevated in Lalbagh, and the lone particular person hanging on the market for the previous couple of years, received a accomplice. The Alexandrine Parakeet, the biggest parakeet we have now right here, additionally stayed over in Lalbagh over the last lockdown, and they’re right here this yr too.

Prof. Madhavi Rangaswamy, of the Psychology Division at Christ College, who’s an avid birdwatcher, says, “Visitors sounds and machine noise are means lower than earlier than, and we people have gotten conscious of the fowl calls. We even have extra time on our arms, so we may also discover extra”.

Prof. Chetan Nag of Jain College, who’s doing a examine of the disturbance results in Lalbagh, echoes this view. “Bulbuls and Tailor Birds have been extra audible as a result of discount in noise air pollution” he says.

Although the scientific neighborhood has been waxing loud concerning the adjustments COVID-19 may result in in orientation of subject analysis, there have been only a few systematic research with correct sampling design on the impact of the lockdowns on birds, which have surfaced up to now.

(Dr. Krishna M.B. is an ecologist and ornithologist from Bengaluru who has been inquisitive about fowl and habitat conservation and enchancment)

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