Regd. Office: Revathi Bhavan, Edathala P O, ALUVA-683561. Reg.No.: ER 18/10 of 2010 Telephone No.: 0484-2837414


The Cochin Natural History Society is a non-profit making, non-political charitable institution registered under the Travancore-Cochin Literary, Scientific and Charitable Societies Registration Act, 1955. This is a society of amateur naturalists who live in harmony with nature and seek to protect and to preserve the biodiversity and healthy natural environment. The mandate of the society is to undertake studies and documentation of biodiversity around us and to draw attention to the aesthetic, economic, scientific and conservation aspects.The society also intends to provide a platform to those who are concerned to come together and share, enlarge and correct our knowledge about Nature and its magnificence. Any person, who has a love, interest and commitment towards conservation of our biodiversity and natural history may become a member of the society*.

"You can know the names of a bird in all languages of the world,but when you are finished ,
You will know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird.....
So let`s look at the bird and see what it`s doing --that`s what counts.
I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something."

-Nobel Laureate Richard P Feynman(1918-1988)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Wetland Bird Count (AWC)- 2015

 Cochin Natural History Society and Kerala Forest Department (Social Forestry Division) are conducting the Wetland Bird Count-2015 at the major wetlands of Ernakulum such as Kadamakkudy and Devaswom Padam (Varapuzha), Kandakkadavu, Kalathara and Kuthirakoor Kari (Thoppumpady) this weekend. The Wetland Bird Count is being conducted as part of the Asian Waterfowl Census. The census has three major objectives:-
to obtain information on an annual basis of water bird populations at wetlands in the region during the non-breeding period of most species (January), as a basis for evaluation of sites and monitoring of populations;
to monitor on an annual basis the status and condition of wetlands; and
to encourage greater interest in water birds and wetlands amongst people, and 
thereby promote the conservation of wetlands and water birds in the region.

The AWC is an annual event that takes place once a year, during the second and third week of January. The census was initiated in 1987 in the Indian subcontinent, and has grown rapidly to cover most countries of South Asia, East Asia, South East Asia and Pacific, as well as Russia Far East.
Waterbirds have been defined as “species of bird that are ecologically dependent on wetlands”. This is the definition used by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. For the purposes of the International Waterbird Census, all species in the following families are considered by Wetlands International to be waterbirds: Podicipedidae (Grebes), Pelecanidae (Pelicans), Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants), Anhingidae (Darters), Ardeidae (Herons) Ciconiidae (Storks), Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills), Phoenicopteridae (Flamingos), Anatidae (Ducks, Geese and Swans), Gruidae (Cranes), Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules and Coots), Jacanidae (Jacanas), Rostratulidae (Painted Snipes), Dromadidae (Crab Plover), Haematopodidae (Oystercatchers), Ibidorhynchidae (Ibisbill), Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets), Burhinidae (Thick-knees), Glareolidae (Coursers and Pratincoles), Charadriidae (Plovers), Scolopacidae (Sandpipers,Snipes and Phalaropes), Laridae (Gulls), Sternidae (Terns) and Rynchopidae (Skimmers).

Waterbirds counted during the census in India include all species of grebes, cormorants, pelicans, herons, egrets, storks, ibises, spoonbills, flamingoes, ducks, geese, swans, cranes, rails, jacanas, shorebirds (waders), gulls, terns, and raptors (birds of prey) normally associated with wetlands. Count data is entered onto standardized count forms.

This is one of the largest scientific data gathering programmes utilizing Citizen Volunteers. The census takes place every year in over 100 countries with the involvement of around 15,000 counters, most of whom are volunteers. More than half the effort is concentrated in Europe, but involvement in other parts of the world has increased markedly since 1990. Between 30 million and 40 million waterbirds are counted each year around the world, and details of the counts and the sites where they take place are held on the newly upgraded, state-of-the-art IWC database. The IWC is thus by far the most globally extensive and one of the longest running biodiversity monitoring programme in the world.

The rationale behind waterbird monitoring was summarized eloquently by Matthews (1967) at the time when international coordination of waterbird counting was beginning: “...while man is recklessly unleashing new insults on his environment, background monitoring of populations is essential to detect the threats as they develop and before they become catastrophes apparent to all”.

Waterbirds are well-known indicators of the quality of certain types of wetlands. A powerful tool which makes use of this characteristic is the so-called 1% criterion, whereby any site which regularly holds 1% or more of a waterbird population qualifies as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. The 1% criterion has been adopted by the European Union to identify Special Protection Areas (SPAs) under the Birds Directive. It is also used by Birdlife International in the identification of Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in wetlands throughout the world. 

Standardized monitoring of Arctic breeding species and species dependent on inter-tidal habitats is even more important in the light of human induced climate change (Houghton et al. 2001). Global warming is expected to have especially pronounced effects on tundra and other Arctic environments, and, through sea level rise, on intertidal habitats (Boyd & Madsen 1997). Waterbird monitoring will play a significant future role in monitoring the effects of these changes on the millions of waterbirds which depend upon these habitats.

Cochin Natural History Society has been coordinating this event since 2011.

For participation in the event in Ernakulam please register by calling/sending SMS at 9446437410. Or mail to

24th January 2015, Saturday Morning
Kalathara, Kandakkadavu and Kuthirakkoor Kari Wetlands (Thoppumpady)

25th January 2015, Sunday Morning 
Kadamakkudy and Devaswom Padam Wetlands (Varapuzha)

Vishnupriyan Kartha

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