Leh, May 13: The 2nd edition of the 'Himalayan Bird Count' event was held at Govt. Degree College, Nobra in collaboration with the Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF) on Saturday in the union territory of Ladakh, with the aim of bringing the birding community together.
The program, initiated by Bird Count India, Bird Conservation Nepal, and the Royal Society for the Production of Birds Bhutan, aimed to generate baseline data and raise awareness about conservation among young minds.
Dr. Stanzin Namgail (Coordinator, NSS) gave a brief presentation on bird-watching basics, familiarizing participants with various bird-watching applications, highlighting the avifauna of Ladakh, and emphasizing the importance of citizen science.
Participants began counting birds in the vicinity of Diskit, Nubra, visiting various wetland areas in the wee hours, and identified around 20 species of birds. Members of the Wildlife Conservation and Birds Club of Ladakh (WCBCL) photographed a rare Indian Spot-billed duck resting in a stream near Ri Marpo between Rongi and Hanle, and reported other surprise sightings such as Common Redstart, Black stork, and Brambling.
Dorjay Daya, Executive of WCBCL Leh, spoke about the importance of the Central Government's Mission LiFE program, and all participants, including the Chief Guest, took the pledge of Mission LIFE in Hindi and English.
Retired Brig (Dr.) B.D. Mishra, LG Ladakh, was the chief guest at the closing ceremony and interacted with school students and participants, urging them to become future ambassadors and conservationists of Ladakh's environment, nature, and wildlife. The chief guest applauded the local community for their conservation efforts.
Dr. Pawan Kotwal, Principal Secretary, Forest, Wildlife, and Ecology, also appreciated NGOs for organizing the program dedicated to the avifauna of Ladakh.
Ka Jigmet Takpa, Chief Conservator of Forest and Wildlife, interacted with students and explained a few hardcore facts about migratory birds, including the Bar-headed Goose (Ngnang pa), the highest-flying bird that migrates to Ladakh for breeding.
The event included the launch of a book titled "Bird Life of Ladakh" by Mohd Abbas, ex-DFO, and Advisor WCBCL, and representatives of NGOs also participated in the celebration. Students thanked all the officials of Ladakh Admin, especially the LG and NSS Coordinator, for planning, organizing, and conducting birding activities in their regions and inspiring people to care about the birds around.