Existence of these birds is threatened: Here is how you can help

  • Vignesh Radhakrishnan, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: May 10, 2015 08:33 IST

Till 2002, the Siberian Crane, a majestic large white bird, would migrate all the way from Western Siberia to India - approximately 4,000 km - during winters.

Their schedule was something like this: After breeding in the Ob marshes of Siberia, they flew to Keoladeo Ghana National Park at Bharatpur in Rajasthan.

But this migration has become a thing of the past because the Siberian Crane is a near-extinct species now. According to a 2012 estimate, only 3,500 to 4000 Siberian Cranes are left.

A study by the International Crane Foundation said the last confirmed sighting of Siberian Cranes in India was in 2002. Another report states that in 1974, close to 75 birds wintered in Bharatpur, which declined to a single pair in 1992.

An article published in the Deccan Herald reported that the cranes were hunted during their long journey across Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Another major factor is that in China there is a diversion of water for human use, agriculture, oilfield development and dam construction. In India, pesticide use and pollution are the major factors that endangered the cranes.

And it’s not just the Siberian Cranes. Nearly 170 Indian bird species are now labelled as ‘threatened’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Of them, almost 20% of them are migratory in nature.

What can we do?

The United Nations observes the

World Migratory Bird Day

on May 9 and 10 every year to raise awareness and highlight the need for conservation of migratory birds and their habitats. On these two days, bird festivals, education programmes, exhibitions and bird-watching excursions are organised across the world.

You can register


and do your bit towards conserving migratory birds.

You can plan bird-watching and bird-counting tours, conduct educational workshops, dramas, festivals, exhibitions and painting competitions.

You can also participate in a video contest, the details of which can be found



You can


by spreading the word, or by translating the message in your language, sharing photos of rare birds, and getting active in social media.

Want to know to where to begin? Well, charity begins at home. Here are the 10 most threatened Indian migratory bird species. You can plan an event on them and send it to the United Nations' World Migratory Bird Day organisers.

Hover-over the images to know why they are endangered and what are the threats.

Edited by :

Abhishek Saha |

Designed by :

Hitesh Mathur |

Written by :

Vignesh Radhakrishnan




Bird life



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