The grey-hooded warbler, Kashmir flycatcher and mallard, among other rare species, have become a common sight at the Sultanpur National Park this November. Officials at the sanctuary say the number of migratory birds flocking to the wetland is up by 46% this year.
Last year, the park, located 15km from Gurgaon city, saw 65 species of migratory birds. This year, the number has already reached 95.
“Currently, there are about 220 bird species with 20,000 migratory and domestic birds in the park. The number is likely to increase,” Kulwinder Singh, district forest officer (wildlife), said.
Experts have attributed the increase at the park to the loss of habitat in the Basai and Najafgarh wetlands. Additionally, the forest department has uninstalled the solar panels in the park as they used to drive the birds away.
“We have ordered that there can be no construction within a 5-km radius of the park. This has created a more peaceful atmosphere for the birds. We have restricted the entry to certain areas of the park,” Singh said.
Earlier, birds used to flock to the Basai wetland in large numbers. But increased construction in the area has affected the migration cycle.
“Birds used to stay in the Basai wetland for months. But because of large-scale construction, they are giving the area a miss this year. Also, there is constant fluctuation in water level. Pollution levels have also risen in the area,” Pankaj Gupta, a birder, said.
Migratory birds that frequent Sultanpur National Park can be categorised as waders, ducks and warblers. These include flamingos, bar-headed goose, greylag goose, northern pintail, plovers, isabelline shrike and green-winged teal. There are also some rare duck species — gadwall, mallard, ruddy shelduck and common pochard.
The park also has 125 resident species — godwit, sandpipers, wagtails and warblers.
“I have spotted rare birds such as grey-hooded warbler and Kashmir flycatcher. We will organise a race for birders on Saturday to count and identify birds,” Taksh Sangwan, a birder, said.