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Birds give Okhla sanctuary a miss

Hamari Jamatia, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, November 19, 2011
First Published: 22:42 IST(19/11/2011) | Last Updated: 22:46 IST(19/11/2011)

With winters still playing hide-and-seek with the city, migratory birds are skipping Okhla Bird Sanctuary, a one-of-its-kind park in Delhi.

Generally, birds start flocking to the water body from the end of October but due to absence of conducive temperatures, there has been a dip in bird numbers, say conservationists.

While plenty of grey-legged geese, black-tailed godwits, coots and spoon bills have arrived, species such as the flamingo, crested poachers, garganey, tufted duck and northern pintail are yet to be spotted.


"There are nearly 15-20 species of birds that travel from outside to the sanctuary. Usually, by this time of the year, the water body is filled with birds. But this year, it is relatively empty," said Tarun Roy, conservationist and Delhi state coordinator of Wetlands International, South Asia.

In October, the water body had dried up to a large extent and had also led to a decrease in the number of birds. After weeks of dryness, on Diwali, the barrages released Yamuna's water into the sanctuary solving the problem of water but adding to the murkiness.

"Several birds were seen but some must have left after seeing the dirty water. But there are still many birds that have come and bird lovers have also started coming again in good numbers," said JM Banerjee, the Range Officer of the sanctuary.

Half of the water body falls in Uttar Pradesh and the rest falls in Delhi.

While the UP area is cleaner, the other half is filled with dirty water with some shores spotting dead fishes.

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