Palwal flutter: Siberian Crane back in India?
Did a flock of Siberian Cranes come to India this winter? Ornithologists and amateurs are rushing to Palwal in Haryana to check out reports that the magnificent bird has been sighted. Chetan Chauhan reports.delhi Updated: Feb 23, 2008 00:53 IST
Did a flock of Siberian Cranes come to India this winter? Ornithologists and amateurs are rushing to Palwal in Haryana to check out reports that the magnificent bird — once synonymous with migratory nesting in India — had been sighted in the country for the first time in six years.
The excitement started after an environment student from Pune reported spotting two cranes in Palwal a few weeks ago, and emailed several NGOs. WWF-India put up posters asking people to keep an eye out for the rare, endangered bird, and sent out a team to investigate.
“Some people have claimed to have seen the cranes, but we’ve not found any conclusive evidence of their presence so far,” Prakash Rao of WWF said. Asad Rahmani, director of Bombay Natural History Society, expressed scepticism: “People may have confused the bird with the Sirus Crane,” he said.
But birdwatchers haven’t given up yet, and Rao feels we must wait for one more winter before burying our hopes.
The Siberian Crane was last seen at the Bharatpur bird sanctuary in 2002. The birds that have traditionally nested in India are now thought to fly to West Asian wetlands. Lack of water in India and military operations in Afghanistan are believed to be why they have stayed away.