Monitoring bird migration through public participation
Each winter, millions of birds belonging to hundreds of species migrate into India from latitudes further north. When do these birds come and how do they spread across the country?More details can be found on the MigrantWatch website and on the blog.
Summaries of MigrantWatch data
There are over 30,000 sightings of migratory species in the MigrantWatch database. Each of these can be explored by anyone who goes to the website. On our data page, tou can search for species or State, and can specify other search criteria. The sightings are displayed in map and tabular form, and if you log in to your MigrantWatch account you can download the raw data.
In addition to providing access to the individual sightings, the MigrantWatch team occasionally creates numerical or graphical (including map-based) summaries of the information that participants have contributed. These summaries are posted on the MigrantWatch blog; do visit!
Finally, in 2013, we came out with a brief overview of the first five years of the project in a report: MigrantWatch 2007-2012. This report shows some summaries of the patterns that have emerged, and also lists, with thanks, all the contributors to the project.
Pied Cuckoo Campaign
The Pied Cuckoo is a strange and enigmatic species. Like many other cuckoos, it is a brood parasite on the nests of other species. But its migration is particularly interesting. There are two populations of Pied Cuckoos in India. The resident population in the southern peninsula can be seen year-round. But in central and northern India, Pied Cuckoos are seen between June and November, and are largely absent for the rest of the year. These migratory cuckoos appear to be travelling to and from Africa; and their appearance in late May and June has led to the belief that the birds herald the onset of the monsoon.
The Pied Cuckoo Campaign is an effort to collect information on the arrival of these birds to better understand whether or not they indeed are 'harbingers of the monsoon'. The campaign has been running since 2009 as part of MigrantWatch, and the information contributed so far suggests that these cuckoos do indeed arrive ahead of the monsoon in central and northern India, but the degree to which they do so differs from place to place and from year to year.
- Popular Article2015வானில் பறக்கும் புள்களைத் தேடி. (On my eBirding Big Year)தி ஹிந்து சித்திரை மலர். The Hindu Sithirai Malar. January 2015
- Popular Article2014நீங்களும் விஞ்ஞானிதான்! (On Citizen Science)தி இந்து நாளிதழ். The Hindu Tamil News Daily. 18th November 2014.
Jeganathan, P. (2014).நீங்களும் விஞ்ஞானிதான்! - தி இந்து நாளிதழ் உயிர்மூச்சு இணைப்பில், ‘இயற்கையின் வாசலில்’ தொடர் எண் – 20. 18th November 2014. Neengalum vingnanithan– Iyarkayin Vaasalil ArticleSeries No.20 (On Citizen Science). The Hindu Tamil News Daily. 18th November 2014.
- Popular Article2014மக்கள் விஞ்ஞானிகளே, வாருங்கள்! (On various citizen science project initiatives in India)25th November 2014.
Jeganathan, P. (2014). மக்கள் விஞ்ஞானிகளே, வாருங்கள்! - தி இந்து நாளிதழ் உயிர்மூச்சு இணைப்பில், ‘இயற்கையின் வாசலில்’ தொடர் எண் – 21. 25th November 2014. Makkal Vingnanigale Varungal!– Iyarkayin Vaasalil ArticleSeries No.21 (On various citizen science project initiatives in India). The Hindu Tamil News Daily. 25th November 2014.
- Report2013MigrantWatch 2007-2012Unpublished report, Citizen Science Programme, National Centre for Biological Sciences.
- Popular Article2012என் பக்கத்து வீட்டு பழுப்புக் கீச்சான் (My friendly neighborhood Brown Shrike)தினமணி நாளிதழ் – கொண்டாட்டம் இணைப்பில். 26 பிப்ரவரி 2012. Dinamani- Tamil Newspaper. Date: 26thFebruary.
என்பக்கத்துவீட்டுபழுப்புக்கீச்சான்.தினமணிநாளிதழ் – கொண்டாட்டம்இணைப்பில். 26 பிப்ரவரி 2012. [Jeganathan, P. (2012)En pakkathu veetu pazuppu keechan.Dinamani- Tamil Newspaper. Date: 26thFebruary. (My friendly neighborhood Brown Shrike)]
- Popular Article2010Climate change, first-handTeacher Plus, May-June, 74-76
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- Journal Article2008MigrantWatch: A citizen science programme for the study of bird migrationIndian Birds, 3(6) 202-209Download
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What are the consequences of rapid global change for the behaviour and ecology of wild species? Answering this very broad question is a challenging but important task. One relatively manageable question under this broad umbrella is how the timing of biological events (i.e., phenology) is changing as the earth’s climate
changes. In this article, we describe a new programme aimed at assessing the timing of migration of birds that winter in the Indian Subcontinent and monitoring changes in this timing over the long term. MigrantWatch is a volunteer-based programme in which participants record the arrival, presence and departure of migrant species across India. We also outline the goals, structure, and open-access philosophy of the programme, and illustrate its potential by briefly describing information collected on the arrival patterns of winter migrants in the second half of 2007.