Bird census: Decrease in bird migration

Waterfowl

Bird census: Decrease in bird migration

Winter season in South India is a golden time for the bird watchers. It is the season with extreme cold days in some parts and in some others, has a pleasant chilly weather.

Above all, it provides an opportunity to the bird watchers to have a glimpse of the activities of the winged beauties that migrate from far and wide to warmer places. This is the season when the birds of far north and south like Russia, Australia and many other countries migrate to equatorial regions to tide over the adverse conditions. In simpler words, the birds migrate from a region of higher altitude to a region of lower altitude to escape the extreme cold.

Bird watching

This is the perfect time to visit a bird sanctuary and watch the activities of vibrant birds nesting. This is something that everyone enjoys. Hearing the birds chirp and twitter further adds to the beauty of the visit. But in recent times, the population of these birds has decreased alarmingly due to the human activities at both the ends i.e., at the breeding ground or the actual habitat and the wintering ground or the place to which the birds migrate. 70 per cent of the population, that is, 30-40 thousand out of 1.30 lakh birds have disappeared during the last few years due to human- centered growth, said K Manu of MAN organization.

Revealations of study

Based on a study, a pre-census count of wetland birds migrating to India, has found that there are 466 sites throughout India that come under Important Bird Area (IBA) and Mysore alone has three sites viz., Kukkarhalli, Lingambudi and Karanji lakes. Taking all these into account, Mysore Amateur Naturalists (MAN) organisation is conducting Waterfowl census starting from the first week of January to study the activities of the birds and health of wetlands on which the waterfowl birds are solely dependent.

Manu told Deccan Herald, “the census covers over 150-160 lakes coming under Mysore, Chamrajnagar and Mandya districts and is expecting to spot approximately 74 species of wetland birds across the areas but, due to low rainfall this year, 30 per cent of the lakes have already dried up which leaves us with nearly 100 lakes.”

Bird types

There are two types of wetland birds, waders and ducks and some of them like the Siberian cranes, waders, are highly endangered with only three human sightings.
Other wetland birds that can be spotted in these areas are stilt, sand pipers, god wits, pin tailed duck, shoveler, garganey and many more, he said.

“Birds today face countless number of problems mainly due to human activities and merely talking about the problem is not going to help. Proper solutions are necessary and the bird census is one such step towards conservation through intense studying,” he said. The MAN organization which was started during 1990s has produced many bird watchers and each year it conducts this census with the help of volunteers.

“Birds form an important part of eco system and the wetland birds enrich the soil and keep the water bodies clean. But they are fast dying due to adverse climatic conditions.

Scanty rainfall

Due to scanty rainfall this year the lakes have already dried up resulting in drought like situation in many parts of the state. The birds along with people have tough time

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