Kathmandu, Feb. 19: Do you want to take part in the bird count around you? Then download an app “Chhimeki Chara” on your mobile phone and contribute to making every bird count this season. Get out into your garden, count the birds you see and participate in a campaign launched by Bird Conservation Nepal (BCN), which will help discover the varieties of birds whistling around you. BCN and its partners are organising the first Nepal-wide Neighbourhood Bird Count on February 19, said Aarati Nepali, Chhimeki Chara, Campaign Coordinator.
“Anyone can participate, even if they don’t know about birds yet. They can participate for only half an hour, near their home, and submit their list through the free Chhimeki Chara app,” Nepali said. BCN has launched an app to inform, count and archive birds as well as keep records of birds found in the neighbourhood, she said.
Birds are found everywhere from core forests to rivers, from houses to paddy fields and from hills to mountains and the Teria, but they are very hard to keep in the record. The campaign will help identify the birds found nearby and make people aware of their conservation and protection, said ornithologist Krishna Bhusal.
This kind of campaign has already been started in various countries but in Nepal, the campaign started for the first time. “This will help people know about the birds found nearby and it will also help to create a bird-friendly environment, which will also help in bird conservation,” Bhusal said.
The global mission of the campaign is to “keep common birds common”, which means the birds found commonly around us should be kept common, he said. Details of the 100 birds seen around the house are kept in the app. The apps also contain details about the neighbouring birds found based on the geographical area, Niraj Dahal, a communications officer at BCN, said. Birds including Rock Pigeon, Oriental Turtle-Dove, Eurasian Collared-Dove, Spotted Dove, Greater Coucal, Asian Koel, House Swift and Red-Wattled Lampwing are included in the app. According to Nepal, the app can be downloaded from app stores. The app asks to indicate the district and to allow the app to access the mobile’s location during submission, which will allow BCN to inform the public of the results through maps and lists for the whole country through their website and the media.
“We expect that the whole process will generate new ideas for citizen science, bird education and conservation, and new linkages and forms of cooperation,” she said. Over 900 people from 68 districts have already downloaded the app as of Friday morning. “This is just an initial step, we are planning to organise this campaign twice a year – winter and summer. Next will be in May,” Nepali said.
The first Neighbourhood Bird Count date is Saturday, February 19, but counts for that whole weekend (maximum one per mobile phone) will be welcomed. The app works offline, and submissions of lists will happen once a mobile has again an internet connection. The app and BCN’s Chhimeki Chara webpage will also inform people about local resource people, birding clubs, events, advanced birding tools like equipment and apps like Merlin and eBird and ways to attract birds to the human environment.
To participate in the counting, click on the Start Counting option in the app. It will show the description of the most visible birds. The number of birds seen can then be counted by searching the list of birds. To get information about the bird that looks similar, click on the picture of the bird. Then it will show more pictures, descriptions, and voices.