The Kidoor Birders’ Group has identified 149 species of birds in the hamlet and even saved a tree.

These bird lovers in Kerala are spreading the message of conservation
news Birds Tuesday, November 21, 2017 - 19:20

When Thomas Crasta, a contractor at Kidoor in Kerala’s Kasargod district found out that a farmer in the village was about to strike down a Mullu Honne tree, he knew that he could not allow it to happen.

The tree was home to several Orange-Breasted Green Pigeons, a rare species of birds found in pockets of the Indian subcontinent. 

Crasta reached out to members of the Kidoor Birders' Group started in the hamlet, who immediately alerted the Assistant Conservator of Forests in Kasargod. A team of forest officers along with members of the Birders' group then met the farmer Abdul Rahiman and convinced him to preserve the special tree. 

"Rahiman is a well-known agriculturist in Kidoor and he was building a house for his son who is in Dubai. When the family came to know of our concerns, they immediately agreed to our request of preserving the tree. They also took responsibility of building a protective bank around the tree," said Raju Kidoor, a teacher and founding member of Kidoor Birders group. 

The Kidoor Birders' group started by bird enthusiasts over a year ago, is spreading the message of conservation in their hamlet. The group was started by five conservationists in Kidoor.

Raju Kidoor along with Maxim Kollangana, a wildlife conservationist, Prashant Gumpe, a chemist, Pradeep Kidoor, a degree student and Glen, a class IX student, got together to spread the message of conservation in the village.

The group spotted the Orange-Breasted Green Pigeon at the Mullu Honne tree earlier this year. They made notes of their observations and when Crasta approached them informing them of the farmer's intentions to cut down the bridelia retusa (scientific name) tree, the group immediately decided to intervene.

"We recorded sightings of 31 Orange-Breasted Green Pigeons one day on the branches of this tree. We recorded videos of the tree and the birds in it," added Raju Kidoor. 

The tragedy was averted in June this year and Raju considers it a victory among a number of battles facing the Birders' Group, who have also made efforts to protect the local lake. "Since last year, we also regularly clean the lake and give the mud collected to agriculturists in the village," said the school teacher.

Orange-Breasted Green Pigeon spotted in Kidoor. Photograph Courtesy: Raju Kidoor

Recently, the group got together to celebrate a Birder's Fest in the hamlet, identifying 57 birds in an exercise that began on Saturday afternoon and went on till Sunday afternoon. The group even organised a 'night stay' to document nocturnal birds. With that, the number of birds identified in Kidoor went up to 149 since the launch of the group.

"We had eight birders from 'Calicut Friends of Nature and were also supported by the Kumbla Gram Panchayat President Pundarikaksha KL, who took part in the event," said Raju. 

Students from primary and high schools also took part in the event on November 12 to celebrate the birthday of ornithologist Salim Ali. The group also organises similar field trips for schools in the village. "We will continue birding, conducting birding camps and nature study camps with the help of locals," added Raju. 

They also plan to contribute to the Kerala Bird Atlas, an initiative started in July 2016 to document birds in the state. 

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