Sunday, May 22, 2011



Ever since the group was created on November 1, last year in Facebook by local bird lover Lukendra Rasaily, ‘Sikkim Birds’ has ignited love and awareness among technology savvy generation here for the local birds of the Himalayan State ranging from the common-Green-backed Tit, Verditter flycatcher, Blue whistling thrush found in the neighbourhood to the exotic birds-Hornbill and Ruddy Shelduck luckily seen in difficult mountainous terrain.
The 302 members of Sikkim Birds group, whose numbers are growing steadily, are slowly developing the habit of clicking and uploading pictures of any bird found in their locality or when they are touring the rural areas of Sikkim in the social networking site. The bird picture is usually uploaded with a catchline of ‘identify this bird’ which sparks a round of comments from the members before one gets the name correct.
In this day of technology, digital cameras and internet are readily, helping the otherwise ignoramus youth of Sikkim to know more about the faunal strength of his State.
“Sikkim Birds was created to cater to the needs of the bird lovers around the world through Face book user and also to bring in avid birdwatchers as well novice together with onlookers for networking.
Sikkim Birds group can provide members with latest information, pictures and the individuals connected to birds, conservation, books, periodicals and other thesis by scholars”, said Rasaily, who is also the secretary of Sikkim Ornithological Society (SOS) established in 2005.
“Facebook has a strong presence in the world as social networking sites. Any post is seen by friends and friends of friends. I realized that one quickest way of introducing bird lovers and the protectors is through the use of face book where in we have tools to use. People have access to internet through computers, lap tops and mobile phones and the Sikkim Birds group definitely serves a medium to expand the bird watchers network and rope in new bird lovers”, said Rasaily.
The need for a presence in the social networking site has been arrived as it was felt that most of the people who see birds almost every day in their locality or villages know the names and characters of these species.
Images of birds posted in the group by the members are identified and their features spelt out by other knowledgeable members. To give the group a local flair, members are also coaxed to give the names of the birds in local languages of Nepali, Lepcha and Bhutia.
“The idea has found good response from the people especially among the youths. People are enjoying taking pictures and posting them in theSikkim Birds group. They show the pictures to their families and the older people tell them about the local names and folklores attached with thesebirds”, said Rasaily who is also the sole administrator of the Sikkim Birds group in Facebook.
The Sikkim Birds group is one of the most important medium of SOS, said Rasaily.
The SOS has around 40 members with former chief secretary of Sikkim KC Pradhan as its chairman.
“Before this virtual group (Sikkim Birds), the SOS used to meet once a while but after this group came up in Facebook, it has created a virtual platform for us to interact. The group has found good response from the youths who are interested in learning and share what they know about birds. The group is like a classroom where students and teachers share their knowledge on a virtual platform to know about birds of Sikkim”, said Sandeep Tambe, an IFS officer posted in Sikkim and presently the special secretary in the State rural development department.
Tambe pointed out that inclusion of local names helps in the mapping of the important bird habitats in Sikkim. “People here know the local names and folk stories attached with the birds and only they don’t know the English name. Now they can know this through the Sikkim Birds group”, he said.
Tambe informed that fifty percent of the bird species of the country are found in Sikkim and expressed his hopes that the Sikkim Birds group, as it evolves, could play an important role in bird conservation. “Sikkim Birds is more like an educational group at present but as it evolves into a larger knowledgably group, then it will be a good platform to talk about threats and conservation of birds”, he said.

6TH MARCH 20011 SIKKIM EXPRESS...........


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