Bird Watching

Birds in my School

Birds of my school
-Neel Gadikar

Pleased to share with you an article on the many species of birds that I used to observe in my school campus since last 5 years. I composed this article with the hope that it will be a great treat to the other school students and it will also encourage them to watch and document birds in their school campus.

Bird watching is my hobby since my childhood days; most of my holidays were spend at National parks or Bird sanctuaries. Slowly my bird watching hobby got converted into my passion. When I was only 9 years old I gave a presentation on “Wonderful World of Birds” to a fully packed auditorium in Indore.

This passion for bird watching has kept me close to nature and over the years my knowledge about the different bird species has also increased.  
India has a great biodiversity and one can watch around 1300 different species of birds in our country. With so diverse landscapes and topographies to see the birds a single lifetime is not enough to see all of them.

I am thrilled to see around 50 species of birds in my school campus itself. Our School has got a great mix of fruiting and flowering plants and trees which attract many species of birds, also the large lush green playgrounds attract large number of birds whose primary diet is seeds and insects.

Morning is the best time to see their activity in the school ground and the campus.
As our school is situated at the outskirts of the City, it has been a boon for a birder like me, as you come to see more species of birds at the city outskirts compared to what you could see within the city limits. Even while coming to school in the bus on the way I am used to see a varied species of birds.

The very fast diminishing population of Vultures has raised concerns to the birding fraternity in last two decades, but luckily I have spotted many a times pair of endangered Egyptian Vultures circling above the school and at times at quite a low height also.

In winter months the migratory birds like the White wagtail, the grey wagtail and the yellow wagtail are seen in the ground looking for the insects.
Other migratory birds like the Black Redstart, Siberian stonechat, Grey headed canary flycatcher also visit the campus in winters.

Three species of Owls are also seen frequently in the school campus. I have seen the Indian Rock owl adults with their chicks in the junior building. It was very interesting to see their behaviour everyday early in the morning.

The Spotted owl pair also marks its presence daily in the school. The pair had found a small crevice in the school building where they are mostly seen. 
The barn owl is seen sleeping in the day time on a tree on the passage to the swimming pool, many a times I have observed its pellets and dropping on the cemented road of the campus.

The common Myna and Brahmney Myna raise their offsprings every year at the pipe fixture near the entrance of the school building.
A swallow nest is built just outside the pool entrance only. It’s very interesting to observe how the male and female pickup mud from nearby areas and build the nest slowly and steadily.

Plenty of cattle egrets are also seen feeding on insects in the lush grass of the school playground.
Red wattled lapwing in numerous counts is also seen. They make loud noise and fly away if students try to approach them.
Laughing doves, spotted doves also make nest in the many trees found around the school.

The most common species seen in the school is the Purple sunbird which finds plenty of nectar diet to suck from the different species of flowering plants planted in the school building. The Sunbird erects beautiful pendulum shaped nest on the small trees. I have seen a very interesting phenomenon where the sunbird nest was built with many paper pieces which the bird has collected from the school dustbin.

In last 05 years I have seen the House Sparrows population dwindling fast from the campus, once they were seen in hundreds and used to roost on the series of trees in front of the swimming pool entrance but now they are seen in very less numbers.
Rock pigeons is another commonly seen species which are very prolific breeders and try to make nest at every possible nook and corner of the school building.
Black Drongo also forages here and there and look for insects. This bird is completely black in colour and has a typical forked tail.

Red vented Bulbuls are also commonly seen. These omnivorous bird nests in the small trees inside the campus.
Smaller birds like Ashy prinias, Plain prinias, Tailor birds, Indian chats, Indian robins and Silver bills are seen foraging near the small plants in search of food.  

Big groups of rose ringed parakeets daily fly over the school campus in search of food to nearby villages and agriculture land.

Now a days many bird species are facing tough time with the fast speed of development which is unknowingly damaging their habitat.  I hope a bird club should be started in the school and the bird watching hobby should be encouraged in the school among the junior classes as well.

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