The 2019 annual bird census in Chandigarh has recorded 620 birds, including migratory and water-dependent species. This number is more than the number of birds spotted last year: 417. Although the number of water-dependent species has increased this time, other bird species, excluding the water fowl, decreased this time. Thirty-three species of water fowl were observed this time as compared to 31 in 2018. Ninety-eight other bird species were observed in 2018 while 86 were observed this time.
Chandigarh Bird Club (CBC) conducts annual bird census every year in November on the occasion of legendary ornithologist Dr Salim Ali’s birthday, which is November 17. The census was held on Sunday morning.
Sixteen members of CBC divided into three teams spent four hours at Nagar Van, Sukhna Lake starting from Lake Club to Regulatory End and in Sukhna Forest area. The birds spotted in fair number in the census were: Bar-headed Goose, Tufted Duck, Ruddy Shellduck, Common Pochard, White Wagtail, and Blue Throat, a small passerine bird.
Mitinder Sekhon, president of CBC, said, “Indeed, it is good that more birds were spotted more this time than the previous year. A few birds, which were not very common in our area, were spotted as well. These birds included White-Eyed Buzzard, a hawk. But we are disappointed at not spotting migratory bird Mallard Duck this time. We have not concluded why this time number of birds is higher than the last year. A newly made water body at Nagar Van can be one of the reasons. In 2017, as many as 717 birds were spotted. Overall, year by year number of the migratory birds is decreasing at Sukhna Lake. Maybe birds are preferring to go to other sites in Haryana and Punjab.”
In the 2018 census, 31 water fowl species were observed and this time, 33 species of water fowl were observed. Ironically, during the last census, 98 other birds (not water fowl species) were spotted while 86 bird species were spotted this time.
As many as 15 birders of three teams gathered in the parking area of Nagar Van. Apart from the census, the birders talked about promoting bird watching among children and students. A birder said, “We should also learn the domestic names of these birds and water fowls. These days, there are a few people who are aware of the domestic names of resident and migratory birds.”
In 2018, the increased water level of Sukhna Lake was blamed for the adverse impact on the number of water fowl. Waders and dabbling ducks prefer to stay in shallow water.