Steady decline in sightings of birds in Mumbai

Steady decline in sightings of birds in Mumbai

There has been a steady decline in sighting of birds in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) – and rampant destruction of green cover, mangroves and wetlands are contributing the reasons behind it.

The MMR comprises two districts of Mumbai City and Mumbai Suburbs and part of three neighbouring districts of Thane, Palghar and Raigad. In terms of spread, it is 4,355 sq km – and more than two crore people stay here besides a huge floating population. Mumbai is spread over 603 sq km. Mumbai and its suburbs are birding hotspots and this causes concern.

“With well over 350 bird species recorded over the years in and around this city, lying as this does at a critical point not just on the avifaunal migration route but is also flanked by a vast landscape of habitats, Mumbai is a birding hotspot,” according to naturalist Sunjoy Monga, who had conceptualised the India BirdRaces programme.

On the eve of 11th edition of Mumbai BirdRace on February 1, Monga released the findings of the last 11 years – which shows the decline.

In 2005, as many 277 bird species were spotted, followed by 2006 (283), 2007 (252), 2008 (261), 2009 (263), 2010 (250), 2011 (248), 2012 (242), 2013 (249) and 2014 (225).

Some sites where there has been a higher fall are Sanjay Gandhi National Park – which is spread of 103 sq km and often referred to as “green lung” of Mumbai, Karnala Bird Sanctuary and Uran wetlands.

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