New Projects

“Resource Selection of Black Kites Milvus migrans” awarded to Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun. Researcher: Nishant Kumar, MSc.

Nishant Kumar continues his good work on this species (read his earlier project summary) and we are glad to provide him additional financial assistance so that this important work continues for another 2 years.

On the lines of last year’s monitoring Nishant and his team will attempt to find total number of breeding pairs through total nest counts in 40 sample quadrates distributed in National Capital Region (NCR). Kites foraging on the dump will be estimated through the analysis of synchronised multiple photo-shoots. This estimate, at the peak hour of congregation, will be corrected for angular overlaps in the multi-panel shots around the dump. Simultaneously, he shall explore the use of Mark-Recapture approach to population estimation by uniquely tagging the birds. Reference based analysis of prey remains and regurgitated pellets from nesting and communal roosting sites will reveal the diet of Black Kites. The survival data based on 10 day interval repeated checks will be analysed to model nest survivorship in relation to resource availability for each sample quadrat. For each nest and random location, covariates found important for nest site selection will be evaluated through logistic regression.

In addition, Nishant plans to tag 20 breeding and 20 non-breeding birds with GPS enabled PTTs and 500 birds at the dump with wing tags to understand their movement behaviour in the city. This will help us in understanding the local movement patterns of Black Kites within the Subcontinent. This analysis will be important to ascertain the potential of kites as vectors of communicable dump site zoonoses. The study will help in generating a thorough understanding of the ecology of Black Kites essential for their conservation and management. It will also help in evaluating the role of Black Kites in a changing world of human development.

Study Area: Study Area- (National Capital Region, India or NCR): The study area will comprise 40 sites, each measuring roughly 1 km2, (retaining the older plots for long term monitoring), in NCR selected on the gradient of urbanization and distributed well across the city area of Delhi.

Main aims:-
  1. Aim: Estimation of total number of Black Kites.
  2. Aim: Determine the nest site characteristics.
  3. Aim: Analysis of regurgitated pellets and prey remains.
  4. Aim: Regular nest checks throughout the breeding season.

A team of 40 trained undergraduate students from Sri Venkateswara College and Deshbandhu College of Delhi University will be assisting in the data collection process voluntarily. These young students, many of them having worked in the earlier phase of the project have been guided and trained by Dr. Yadvendradev Jhala and Dr. Qamar Qureshi of the Wildlife Institute of India