The Sultanpur National Park, the abode of over 45,000 residential and migratory birds, has begun its annual one-month closure process ‘to give privacy to the avian species during their mating season’. According to the District Forest Officer, around 21 avian species are expected to mate during the period that begins in June.
Calling it an ‘extremely crucial’ time for the bird sanctuary, District Forest Officer Kulwinder Singh said, “We have taken all precautions to prevent any kind of disturbance during this season. This is good for the species and the bird sanctuary too.”
The closure started in early June and authorities have been ordered to keep it closed till June 30. However, sources said the 359-acre national park is likely to remain closed till the third week of July.
According to wildlife experts, with the monsoons expected to hit the area during this time, most of the residential species start breeding from mid-June to September. This is the most preferred time for them to breed as the young ones do not get exposed to extreme cold or heat.
“However, species like the Sarus Crane bred in April, which is early according to mating standards. The only problem in early mating is that the young ones will get exposed to extreme heat,” Suresh Sharma, a wildlife expert stationed at the sanctuary, said.
Residential species like Red-collared Dove, Grey Francolin, Spotbill, Grey Heron and Purple Heron are expected to breed in this season. Also, officials have spotted rare species like the Horned Owl and the Ultramarine Flycatcher during this season. They too are expected to breed, Sharma said. Sources have also said that due to early breeding, an increase of 59 residential birds in the sanctuary has been recorded.
Forest authorities have also made special arrangements to record the mating activities without disturbing their pattern. “To provide adequate privacy, only limited staff is allowed to enter the premises. Staff will also be recording the hatching process, color of the eggs and the time of hatching. During night, ‘no flash’ cameras will be used so that the birds are not disturbed,” Sharma said.