Sneak Peek: Breeding season is here, birdwatchers compete for the elusive Grassbird | News from Noida

Noida: Little is known about the bristly bird. Endemic to the Indian subcontinent, the chaetornis striata – known by its scientific name – is shy and temperamental, often spotted hiding in tall grass.
It is during the breeding season, which begins in July, that the bird is seen with relative ease in wetlands, where it prefers to nest.
Every year, birdwatchers organize a walk in Surajpur look for the spiky bird; its brown-streaked back and long tail allow it to hide stealthily in wet meadows.
This year was no different. Gautam Budh Nagar-based birdwatchers said they spotted two spiky grasses in the Surajpur wetland on July 10. They hope for more views until the end of the breeding season.
“I’ve seen this bird for four years, and just a few days ago I spotted two. This bird attracts a lot of birdwatchers, but not everyone wants to click on the pictures because this bird doesn’t is not as colorful or spectacular as some popular birds,” said Rohit Sharma, an ornithologist.
Although spotted intermittently, birdwatchers are also concerned about the rapid decline in the bristle grass population, due to the loss and degradation of tall, dense grasslands with swampy terrain.
Human activities and agriculture have already destroyed its habitat for a long time and pushed the species – found only in India, Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh – into the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s vulnerable category. (IUCN).
“Up to 5-6 pairs of this bird have been spotted in Surajpur wetland. But in recent years the number of pairs visiting and breeding in Surajpur wetland is decreasing. I saw this bird in Dadri in 2008 but the wetland there was destroyed. Now they can only be seen in Surajpur every year during its breeding season,” said Surya Prakasha former zoologist from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and an ornithologist based in Greater Noida.
Apart from Surajpur, the bird is also spotted in Dhanauri and Okhla sanctuary, but not every year.
“If we don’t save the habitat of this bird in Surajpur, we may not be able to spot them at all in the future,” Prakash added.