The bird reserve in Sultanpur National Park played host to only 40,000 migratory birds this season as compared to the last year’s 50,000.
According to the wildlife census reports of February 2013, a total of 218 bird species had flocked to the park from September last year to March 2013. Out of this, 70 were migratory species and 148 were resident birds.
In 2011, a few new species were spotted but the total number of birds was higher. As many as 50,000 birds of 67 different species were spotted in the park last year.
Officials said although the number of species this year was more, the total number of birds was lesser than last year. Around nine new species made an appearance for the first time in the park, including Brown Shrike, Baikal Teal, Indian Pitta, Long-billed Asian Dowitcher, Egyptian Vulture, Ultramarine Fly Catcher, Verditer Fly Catcher, Red-headed Falcon and Zitting Cisticola. All these birds are either from the Indian subcontinent or Siberia, Europe and Central Asia.
“This year, many birds were spotted for the first time. For instance, the Brown Shrike was last seen about 100 years ago. We have seen it again after a long gap,” said Vinod Kumar, conservator, wildlife. The peak period of the migratory cycle — October and November — saw more than 30,000 birds in the national park, which is famous for attracting migratory birds. Some of the species found in large numbers are Common Teal, Garganey Teal, Coot, Indian Moorhen, Black-winged Stilt and Red-wattled Lapwing.
According to officials, the reason for the marginal reduction in the number of winged visitors was the delayed monsoon coupled with scanty rainfall in the city.
This had adversely affected the migratory cycle. Moreover, the climatic condition in Europe, Siberia and Central Asia too had undergone drastic changes as the winter was delayed there. The officials claim that the entire migratory cycle has also been disturbed due to climatic shifts. “During December and January, many birds had flown to southern India to escape the cold here. It was expected that they were in search of food and warmth. In February, they were on their way back,” explained Kumar.
Meanwhile, the annual census conducted by the Delhi Bird Club on February 24 claimed 246 bird species were spotted across NCR, of which nearly 150 were spotted in Gurgaon alone.