Birds project’ Current Affairs - 2020

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Indian Bird Species have declined by 80% says State of India’s Birds Report at CMS COP 13

On February 18, 2020, the State of India’s Birds Report was released at the CMS COP 13. It assessed the status of more than 867 birds. The report says that more than 80% of Indian bird species have declined in the last 5 years. More than 15,000 bird watchers participated in the survey.

Highlights

According to the report, the highest decline of birds in India was found in vultures, eagles, warblers and migrating shore birds. The report says that habitat loss and hunting are the two main reasons behind decline in bird population. The report is first of its kind.

The report classified 101 species of birds as “High Conservation Concern”.

Stability

The stability in count was found only with house sparrows. Their population have gone up in rural areas. The Indian peafowl was found in abundance according to the report.  Around 48% of bird species in the country were stable.

Assessment

The report was prepared based on three assessments namely long-term trend, measure of distribution range and current annual trend.

Long Term Assessment

Out of the 261 species that were assessed on long term basis, 52% of them declined since 2000. Only 43% showed a long-term trend and were stable. Around 22% of them declined strongly.

Current annual Trend

The current annual trend was assessed over 146 species. Under this category, 80% of the birds declined and 50% declined strongly. Only 6% were stable and 14% were increasing in numbers.

Categories of Concern

The report with the help of IUCN Red List and the three indices classified the birds into three categories. Around 442 of the birds were put under Low Concern Category, 319 in Modern Concern Category and 101 in high concern category.

Who prepared the report?

The report was prepared by 10 research and conservation organizations. It included Wildlife Institute of India, Natural History and Wetlands International South Asia, World Wide Fund for Nature India, Bombay Natural History Society and Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and Environment.

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Study: Traffic Noise affects physiology and reproductive health of birds

The Study published in the Conservation Biology Journal noted that the chicks of birds that were exposed to noise were smaller than the ones in quiet nests. On the whole 88 birds were put under observation. They were split into two group. One half were bred in noisy environment and the other half were bred in no noise environment.

Highlights of the study

  • The research team recorded the level of stress before, after and during the breeding period. Also, the measure of functioning of birds’ immune system, reproductive system and the growth rate of the chicks were monitored.
  • The study revealed that birds in constant traffic had lower levels of corticosterone hormone. This was surprising as stress often resulted in higher level of hormones. According to the researchers, the low level of hormones was mainly due to an adopted natural defence mechanism that ensures that the corticosterone levels do not affect the immune system
  • The chicks that whose parents were exposed to noise were smaller in size than those from parents that were bred in quiet environments.

The entire study suppressed other factors affecting the bird population like air pollution, chemicals, light pollution, etc. The study was conducted on the basis of traffic disturbances alone.

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