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Bird catchers turn conservationists

KOLKATA, 21 MARCH: A campaign that has transformed traditional bird catchers into conservationists was launched by an NGO, Peoples’ Green Society, here today to celebrate the World Forest Day.
The NGO has taken up a two-fold action plan ~ Love Bird, Save Bird and Birds’ Nest ~ under the initiative called Build Infrastructure with Life Touch (BUILT) that aims at eco-sustainable development and maintaining a balance between urbanisation and environment.
Under the Birds’ Nest project, a group has been formed with people who earlier used to work as bird catchers and bird sellers. The group would now work closely with the NGO and bird experts to identify various species of birds in the perimeter of the city and prepare a survey report. They would also help experts to identify bird varieties that can thrive in urban areas and identify trees that would provide necessary food and habitat for the identified species. The NGO has engaged bird catchers who know specific ways of whistling to which the birds respond. When they whistle standing under a tree, the birds in their nests become active and it helps to physically identify them.
On the basis of information collected, work of proper maintenance and measures for habitat development and proliferation and provision of regular availability of water would be taken up by the NGO, in association with the Kolkata Municipal Corporation, Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA), Kolkata Improvement Trust (KIT) and the forest department, said Mr Shyamal Ghosh, project director and secretary of the NGO. Under the Love Bird, Save Bird campaign, bird catchers would be provided alternative and sustainable mean of livelihood, he added. A preliminary study has found that over 1,250 bird species are found in India and more than 70 per cent of these could be sighted in the state. During a survey in Tala Park, Lake Town, Deshapriya Park and Rabindra Sarovar, it was found that despite scare foliage, the birds had survived.

Soma Basu

Soma Basu

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