Birds that flock together perish together

Birds that flock together perish together

The killing of at least 200 birds in Sonebhadra district alone, about 400 km from Lucknow, in the past few days, has ruffled the feathers of bird lovers and forest officials as well.

Forest officials said around 100 birds were found dead at Dhandhrail dam in Sonebhadra last Monday. “Hunters may have spread poisonous food articles on the dam water, and cranes that flock to the area in droves could have eaten it and died,” they said.

As many as 80 Siberian cranes were found dead in similar circumstances at the dam last week, too, they pointed out. “Crane meat is in great demand...Hunters sell it for a pittance,” the official said.

Hunting has also resulted in depleting number of cranes arriving here during the winter season, he added.

Police in Balrampur district also recovered nine dead Siberian cranes and arrested one person, sources said.

Bird lovers say there could be many such incidents that may have not come to light. “These birds migrate to many parts of the state and it will be difficult to know if they are being killed elsewhere, too,” said a forest official.

Forest officials say they are taking measures to prevent bird-hunting. “Patrolling in the forests has been increased and a strict watch is being kept on hunters,” they said.
“Migratory birds usually follow a set path when they travel and that could be a major reason for their hunting... For, hunters know what path the birds take and then lay traps,” said an expert.

Birds, including Siberian cranes, Comentil, Galliard, greater flamingo, yellow wagtail, white wagtail and rosy pelican, traverse thousands of kilometres from their original habitat to reach Uttar Pradesh, flying mainly during day for about three to four days.

During winter, thousands of birds arrive from Siberia, Mongolia and other parts of Asia to avoid hostile weather there.

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