SUBJECT :Migratory Birds 

BHOPAL: Winged visitors are giving the state capital a miss. This year, despite a prolonged cold wave, there is a decline of about 50% in sighting of migratory birds in Bhopal. Normally, with onset of winters, the city starts buzzing with chirping of the winged guests arriving from as far as Siberia, Europe, Afghanistan Himalayan region and other South Asian countries.

Experts attribute decline in numbers to a variety of reasons including climate change, heavy rain and too much disturbance around their habitat. Anil Gulati, an avid bird lover and watcher, said human interference is the biggest obstacle which reduced visit of these birds this year. Rudy Shelduck, comb duck, Eurasian wigeon, tufted pochard could be seen in water bodies of Kaliasoot and Hathikheda dam. The numbers have reduced to 500 from 1000, a decline of almost 50%.

"Their habitat is rapidly shrinking as wetlands are being replaced by concrete, which impacts the fauna," he said. Even activities carried out lakes may be a cause of the decline. "Due to the events held at different lakes including the Upper Lake to attract tourists like adventure sports and canoeing among others is also one reason that winter visitors gets disturbed and leave the place early", explained Gulati.

 

"Hundreds of 'black headed gulls' were seen in water bodies in the city including the Upper Lake. While 'Lesser whistling' and 'spot billed ducks', which were earlier seen round the year are much less in," said Gulati. 'Gargeney' and 'spoonbills' birds were not even seen this year.

Another birder watcher Shomi Gupta admits that less greenery and more of concrete is stopping the winter visitors in the city. "This year the flocks of migratory birds were less in number, even the variety of ducks declined," she said. "Bhopal is ideal destination for migratory birds with rich wetlands and catchment areas of Upper and Lower lake. But due to heavy rains and construction activities have delayed arrival of the birds," she lamented.

"Rise in the pollution level in water bodies has disturbed the habitat of the birds," explained, a student and photographer Ahtram Uddin. While the assistant director of Van Vihar national park, Sudesh Baghmare said, "It is true that there is a decline in number of migratory birds this year due to heavy rains, but for the bird lovers we are still organising bird watching camp in the month of February."

Less sightings:

Ruddy Shelduck

Comb duck

Eurasian Wigeon

Tufted Pochard

Black Headed Gulls

Spot billed ducks

Birds which did not visit this year:

Garganey

Spoonbills


Source: Times of India (Dated 22 Jan 2014)