Mangaluru: Campus Bird Count 2022 was held in various campuses across India from the 18th to the 21st of February as part of the ‘Great Backyard Bird Count’ hosted by Bird Count India in collaboration with eBIRD. This year, over 262 colleges participated in this massive birding event to document the avian fauna on their campuses.
This is the fourth year that St Aloysius College (Autonomous), Mangaluru has participated in this event. The 140-year-old campus, which spans 37 acres is located in the heart of Mangaluru city. This year, in addition to the main campus, campus bird count was done for the first time at St Aloysius Institute of Management and Information Technology (AIMIT) in Kotekar Beeri, which is spread across 17 acres. The Department of Zoology organised the Campus Bird Count 2022.The campus bird count team was directed by Mr Glavin Thomas Rodrigues (Assistant Professor, Dept. of Zoology) and Dr Hemachandra (HOD of Zoology) in the active presence of Dr Fr Praveen Martis SJ (Principal), Dr Fr Melwyn Pinto SJ (Director AIMIT Campus) and Mrs Divya Pereira (Assistant Professor, AIMIT). The poll was completed by 28 students from both campus and the general public, making the event a huge success.
The three-day birding event (19th to 21st) resulted in the identification of 26 species of birds in St Aloysius College Mangaluru Campus and 35 species of birds on the AIMIT campus. Greater Racket-tailed Drongos, Jungle Mynas, Common Mynas, Rock Pigeons, Purple Rumped Sunbirds, Pale Billed Flowerpeckers, Asian Koels, Oriental Magpie Robins, and Red Whiskered Bulbuls were frequently seen in both the campus and the surrounding area. Large predatory birds such as the Black Kite and Brahminy Kite can be observed soaring around the campus in large flocks and perching on historic structures. During the campus bird count, migratory birds such as the Indian Paradise Flycatcher, Indian Golden Oriole, and Blue Tailed Bee Eater were also spotted. In addition to this, birds such as Nilgiri Flowerpecker, Ashy Woodswallow, Red Wattled Lapwing, Black-headed Ibis, Jerdon’s Leafbird and Orange-headed Thrush were spotted in AIMIT Campus.
St Aloysius College, with its lush green grounds, is still home to hundreds of birds in this age of urbanisation. The wide diversity of fruiting plants and trees found here, which provide shelter, food, and nesting sites for a variety of bird species, can be credited for such a large population. To date, 56 species have been added to the St Aloysius College Mangaluru Campus inventory, with AIMIT Campus being included as an eBird Hotspot with a 35-species checklist. During the bird census, nesting sites of several bird species were observed. This demonstrates that the campus has a well-balanced environment that allows a diversity of bird species to thrive. Such long-term bird counts will reveal how bird populations change over time. St. Aloysius College has long encouraged students to participate in activities that bring them closer to nature, knowing that observing nature may teach you a lot.