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Uttarakhand has most bird species in India, says survey

Dehradun: A pan-India one-day bird estimation exercise - Himalayan Bird Count - revealed that Uttarakhand had the highest number of avian species count, at 294, among all states. It was followed by West Bengal which recorded 284 different bird species, and Arunachal Pradesh with 234. Maharashtra, with 228 different avian species, was fourth, followed by Tamil Nadu (221), Karnataka(221), and Himachal Pradesh(217). The one-day survey was conducted by Bird Count India, Bird Conservation Nepal, and the Bhutan-based Royal Society for Protection of Nature on May 14, which is also observed as Endemic Bird Day. Conservationists, scientists, and nature enthusiasts were seen sighting the winged creatures through their lenses across the Himalayas.
"This count will sensitize people about bird diversity across all Himalayan states, which has not been recorded uniformly to date. This was the first such coordinated count and can be used as a base figure, which will help us understand the impact of climate change and other factors on the avian diversity in the region," said Sanjay Sondhi, a conservationist and founder of Titli Trust. 
Besides, Uttarakhand also had the highest number of birdwatchers in the Himalayan region.
U'khand has most birdwatchers in the Himalayan region
The checklist submission indicated that the number of people involved in birdwatching at the time of the joint national exercise was 175 in the hill state, "Compared to Himachal Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, and Assam, Uttarakhand's ecosystem is actually the best- it has great locations, bird hotspots, different kinds of species, nature guides, publications, local checklists and accommodations at almost all pockets. The submission of the highest number of checklists and bird species is indicative of a really good ecosystem for birdwatching in Uttarakhand," said Sondhi. Among other Himalayan states, Jammu & Kashmir counted 193 bird species, Ladakh 104, Meghalaya 56, Tripura 77, Sikkim 157, and Arunachal Pradesh counted 234.
The different species of birds recorded included the Great Barbet, Chukar Partridge, and the Pink-Browed Rosefinch. Incidentally, Uttarakhand is also among the first states of the country that started the bird festival almost over a decade ago. Uttarakhand boasts of having at least 14 'Important Bird Areas (IBA's). These are internationally recognized sites of ornithological importance due to their special features, which suit birds.

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