Common Bird Monitoring Programme

(count on 15th January 2017)
Organised by BNHS

Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) has announced its bird count for the monsoon season, on the 15th of January 2017 under its Common Bird Monitoring Programme. BNHS invites bird watchers, NGOs, ornithologists, and nature lovers to participate. The counts will be conducted across three seasons on a pan-India level. This programme is completely based on scientific methodology, the data which will be generated with the help of Line Transect methods, will be useful for conservation of our neighborhood species.

About Common Bird Monitoring Programme

Common Bird Monitoring Programme is a citizen science programme. The objective is to involve more and more people in observing birds in their own backyard or a location they visit regularly. There are several existing good initiatives where people can record their bird sightings. However, there is a need to accurately monitor trends in common bird populations. Hence, we have started a unique activity in India called the Common Bird Monitoring Programme (CBMP).

Objectives of CBMP

  • To provide information on year-to-year and longer-term changes in population levels for a wide range of birds across a variety of habitats throughout India.
  • To understand the extent to which bird populations are increasing or decreasing. Monitoring birds is crucial as they act as indicators of a region’s/habitat’s health.
  • To promote a greater understanding of the population biology of birds and, in particular, to focus on factors responsible for the declines.
  • To function as a key component of BirdLife’s monitoring strategy.
  • To promote bird conservation through the involvement of a large number of volunteer observers in survey work.
  • To observe and report the birds using a scientific methodology so as to get more authentic data.
  • To collect the data,ideally three times a year, so that in the long run we can get information about the changes in common bird populations.

Why we count Common Birds?

 Common birds are in trouble owing to urbanisation and industrialisation. For example, the population of House Sparrows is considered to be declining in the cities. Anthropogenic pressures in the form of concretisation and other developmental activities disturb many bird species living in an area. To know their current status, it is necessary to monitor these common species.

How to participate this programme (monitoring)

 We have plotted grids on the map of India with the help of GIS software. We need your location details (Google earth coordinates), and based on this, we shall send you a grid (which is in close proximity to your location). If performing the transect in the selected grid is not possible due to geographical limitations/obstructions please write to us and we will send a new grid. Each grid is 2, and each participant will be sent a grid, in which they must perform the survey.

How to send us your location details (Google earth place mark)



It is very important not to reject sites that may appear uninteresting. Grids containing a few species are just as valuable as the ones with many species.


Line Transect Method

This method is practical and efficient. Line transect method is based on the theory of walking along a predetermined route at a fixed pace (speed) to record the birds on or near the line. With the help of these methods, you can observe the birds and note down the observations in the provided data sheet format.

When to visit
This monsoon you have to visit on the 11th of September 2016. Counts should ideally start around 7a.m., and not later than 9a.m. Counts will be more productive early during the day; birds generally grow quiet and inactive during the middle of the day.

Surveys must not be carried out in conditions of heavy rain, poor visibility or strong wind. Birds generally become inactive in windy and wet conditions.

Recording birds
Birds should be recorded only while walking along the transect. Once you commence the survey, do not record birds behind you or beyond the transect line.

Data Sheet

Each participant will be provided with a simple data sheet (soft copy) to be printed out and filled in the field. A demo data sheet (already filled) will also be sent so that participants can see how to record their bird sightings.

Count Summary Sheets
It is pre-prepared excel sheet containing a comprehensive list of bird species commonly encountered in and around your location. The data collected in the field and noted on the data sheet must be entered onto the count summary excel sheet and sent to us.

At the end of the count summary sheet is a section where you could use your broader knowledge of the site and/or area to provide information on the potential threats (both current or future) to the habitat and/or birds around your transect.

Submission of data
Participants can either submit their field data sheets to their project officer after every count or can enter the data onto the count summery excel sheet and send it via email. Once we have received your completed, filled data sheets for all three seasons (monsoon, winter and summer), you will receive an acknowledgement letter from the Bombay Natural History Society.

If you have any queries about CBMP, please contact the following address:

Indian Bird Conservation Network,
Bombay Natural History Society,
Hornbill House,
Opp. Lion Gate, S.B. Singh Road,
Mumbai-400 001, India.
Phone No: -+91-22-22818957 (Office)

Contact: Nandkishor Dudhe (Research Assistant) +91-8087738422