The HSBC Bird Race, 190114

This time, HSBC got into a lot of controversy just before the annual event, with people accusing it of “greenwashing”, covering up less than green business practices by sponsoring “green” events (though how the Bird Race is a green event, promoting the driving of cars all around the cities where the events are held, is beyond me.)

Birders “lining up” in Bannerghatta on the Bird Race day:


This year, it was not a competitive event, and there were no prizes…a move that I, for one, deeply appreciated, as it removed any incentive for “adding” bird species to sighting lists to get a higher total…or accusations of people having done so.

However, neither the controversy nor the lack of prizes dampened the enthusiasm of the birding community of Bangalore, and 33 teams registered for the day’s event.Of these, 4 were to bird in the east, 15 in the north, 14 in the south. (Obviously, the western areas of Bangalore are not considered to have birding hotspots.)

ASIAN KOEL female:


Only one team was Green..The Unventured”, comprising Gurudeep,Deepak,SarvananamdAmbika. They cycled through the day, covering about 80km before winding up at the venue of the evening gathering, where the birding community met over dinner, and exchanged notes about the day.

Red-breasted Flycatcher:


For the first time, there were two online birding apps for use by the birders to enter their data.

The creators of the MyBird app:


Funds were raised for the Bugun Welfare Society in the birding hotspot, Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary, in Arunachal Pradesh, by selling merchandise designed by Rohan Chakravarty, the wildlife cartoonist.


As usual, Swarna Venkat made an excellent emcee,


drawing out memories of the days’ birding from participants, young and old.

Manas, probably the youngest participant, at the evening event:


The Chief Guest, Ms Tara Gandhi, reminisced about her learning from the legendary Dr Salim Ali. At Dr Subramanya’s invitation, Dr Suhel Qader made a presentation about Migrant Watch and E-bird,two bird-related online initiatives.


Praveen J made a presentation about pelagic birding.


As they do every year, the organizers took on the job out of their love for this increasingly popular hobby in the city of Bangalore.

At the end of the day, the birding community remains a vibrant and active one!



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