The migratory waterfowl bird count has drastically decreased in the Inter State Chandigarh Region (ISCR) over the years, raising concerns about habitat destruction, food availability for migratory waterfowl and change in weather.
The waterfowl bird count for the domestic and migratory birds is conducted twice every year– once in February, by when most of migratory birds arrive in the region and in November, at the beginning of the arrival season.
Chandigarh-based bird-watchers maintain that no change has been recorded in the pattern of arrival of migratory birds, except for waterfowl, which arrived and left the ISCR throughout the year.
The ISCR, comprises the areas of Timber Trail to Morni Hills, Chhatbir, Mirzapur dam, Siswan dam, Nepli and Kansal forests and the Sukhna Lake.
In 2017 winter, 4,000 water fowl visited Sukhna lake, but in the winters of 2018, merely 1,500 birds were counted.
In November, 2019, the counts of the waterfowl birds was merely 620.
Narbir Singh Khalon, member of the Chandigarh State Board for Wildlife, said, “Indeed, the number of waterfowl birds has fallen at Sukhna and Dhanas lakes over the years. Reasons are numerous and a major reason is the depth of the lake. Migratory waterfowl birds like to stay in shallow water for easy availability of food. The water level of Sukhna lake has increased resulting in less arrival of waterfowl birds.”
He added, “Interestingly, there is no change in the arrival of other small and big migratory birds, which come here throughout the year and return after spending a few months. So far, the bird count is focused on the waterfowl. There is no bird count for other birds. Usually, we observe the presence of these birds during the bird walks organised from time-to-time in and around Chandigarh.”
The migration of birds is divided in three parts- latitudinal, attitudinal and breeding. Passage migration means the small stay of birds at a place during their long journey.
General Secretary Chandigarh Bird Club (CBC) Rima Dhillon said, “Efforts are being made to provide the best habitat for migratory waterfowl. Shallow water bodies were constructed for this specific purpose at Nagar Van. The species of waterfowl which were seen very less are greyleg goose.”
Birds including hume’s warblers, lesser white throat, common chiffchaff etc arrive in the city during winters, while birds such as Indian pita, Indian golden oriole, jacobin cuckoos etc arrive during summers for breeding purpose.
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