The first-ever bird count at one of Delhi's new city forests, Garhi Mandu, has found 90 species, including 26 species of migratory birds and several threatened ones. However, the census also revealed a number of local threats to these birds such as fishing, playgrounds, garbage dumping, besides human intrusion and disturbance.
"We found 33 species of waterbirds, including 13 migratory ones. Of the 57 species of terrestrial birds, 13 were migratory," said TK Roy, one of the team members, who did the count. Spread over 894.73 acres along the left bank of the Yamuna in northeast Delhi, Garhi Mandu is a protected forest by the Delhi government and because of adjacent wetlands, is a good habitat for birds. Though this was the first official count, during the last one year, about 100 bird species were spotted in the forest.
Roy, who is also the Delhi state coordinator of Asian Waterbird Census, said, "But because the wetlands are unprotected, the condition of the natural habitat has deteriorated. Local threats such as fishing and garbage dumping make several resident species such as the Oriental Darter, Cinnamon Bittern and Greylag Goose avoid the wetlands."
The census was conducted as part of the annual 'big bird day' celebrated at various locations in Delhi and NCR and a total of 222 bird species were recorded. Of them, 90 species were recorded at Garhi Mandu forest and the adjacent wetlands.
Top Delhi forest department officials, including GN Sinha and AK Shukla, were present during the bird count at Garhi Mandu and appreciated and thanked the team for their valuable support to explore the diversity of the various species here and creating environmental awareness.
The Big Bird Day is an annual event of the Delhi Bird Club, which is held to create awareness about birds.