Francis A. Commerçon (Yale School of the Environment)

Analysis of Wetland Prioritization for EAAF Migratory Waterbird Conservation

In the global fight against biodiversity loss, biologists rely on spatial prioritization approaches to plan allocation of limited conservation resources. I qualitatively analyze the widespread population percentage approach to wetland prioritization for migratory waterbird conservation in the EAAF and ask why connectivity-based inclusion criteria are lacking. I suggest one explanation may be how birds are valued in sub-national conservation politics. At its root, the difference in usage between population percentages and connectivity metrics might be the scale difference between counts of birds and tagged individuals. When advocating site conservation against economic interests, ecological values often must be defended using a way of thinking that fails to recognize the legitimacy of knowledge obtain from small numbers of tagged birds. Migratory connectivity is critical for the persistence of waterbird populations, yet it is understood at the scale of the individual bird. A shift toward recognizing the value of individual birds’ experiences is a first step toward achieving effective population-level conservation.

Paul Antony B (Bombay Natural History Society)

Migratory pattern of coastal birds through Kanyakumari, India with special emphasis on terns

Kanyakumari being located at the southern tip of peninsular India and at the meeting place of two seas with the Indian Ocean, this site attains significance for migratory birds that winter and pass through India. These sites act as a stopover/ refuelling site during the southward migration (August to mid-October) for the birds migrating to the southern hemisphere countries. Similarly, many species that might not have passed through this site during the southward migration occur during the northward migration (mid-February to early April). This three-decade study documented the changes in the population trends of several migratory species, especially in Crested terns. The mass movements recorded in several tern species which did not happen during northward passage indicate that the species take different migratory routes for their northward and southward journeys. The major migratory groups consist of terns followed by waders and flamingos. The dominant species during southward passage are predominantly marine terns and a small number of shorebirds. During winter the dominant groups are mostly ducks and several species of waders and flamingos. Species that utilise these sites as a stopover during northward migration are predominantly waders and marsh terns (Whiskered, Gull-billed, Little & Saunders’s terns). Habitat specialists like Grey Plover, Terek Sandpiper, Common Greenshank and Ruddy Turnstone also occur at the sites in more numbers during northward passage. Contrary to the other sites like Chilika and Point Calimere, this area supports Whiskered Tern only during the northward passage. It can currently supports the largest population of Common Terns (80,000 to 1,00,000), Lesser Crested Terns (c. 20,000), and Greater Crested Terns (c. 80,000) which stayed briefly during northward migration. The BNHS’s bird ringing studies at Kanyakumari have produced interesting recoveries on Common tern, Lesser Crested tern, and Whiskered tern.