The Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) on Saturday released a new book titled Important Bird Areas of Maharashtra, highlighting 27 sites in the state where birds flock together. The book was released at the 27th Pakshimitra Sammelan in Nashik.
The Important Bird Areas (IBA) programme was conceptualised in 1998 during a meeting between BNHS and Birdlife UK, where it was decided to identify sites of global importance to birds and create a network of ornithologists, birdwatchers and conservationists, who now form the Indian Bird Conservation Network. This book was derived from an earlier publication of the BNHS on the IBA, but with additional new sites specific to Maharashtra.
More than 466 sites were identified in the IBA programme across the country, of which 27 are present in Maharashtra. This includes the seven new sites that have been identified by BNHS researchers in Hatnur dam, Mahendri, Pench, Phansad, Ujjani, Chandoli and Amboli-tillari areas.
“Some of the most important sites have been identified in Mumbai. They are Thane creek and the Sewri mudflats, where more than 1 lakh birds can be found,” said Dr Raju Kasambe, a BNHS bird expert, who wrote the book along with veteran avian researchers Asad Rahmani, Zafar-ul-Islam and Jayant Wadatkar.
The other sites include Sanjay Gandhi National park, Tungareshwar sanctuary and Tansa .
The book contains detailed information and photographs of bird habitats, bird maps and threatened species checklists for each site. Threatened birds such as the Indian Vulture, Great Pied Hornbill, Forest Owlet, painted stork and many more can be conserved if these vital habitats are preserved.
“We have had to research areas in Maharashtra for more than a year to compile this book, which will be a source of information for the government, conservationists and avian enthusiasts to identify and protect habitats of those species that need conservation,” explained Dr Kasambe, who has been studying birds in the state for years.
This book is a contribution to the Pakshimitra Sammelan in Nashik, a two-day conclave which is attended by birdwatchers, researchers, photographers and enthusiasts from all over the country.