Migratory birds have started arriving early this year at wetlands in Rajasthan’s Kota, prompting bird watchers and the wildlife department to step up vigil on the winged visitors amidst a scare of avian flu.
No symptom of the H5N1 flu virus, however, has been detected among migratory birds until now, but environmentalists say monitoring of the winged visitors is must.
The Kota region is famous for its water bodies, including the Chambal River, dams, canal network and wetlands that every year attracts more than 150 different species of migratory birds from Central Asia and other countries during the winter months.
A group of Kota-based bird watchers visited the water bodies in the region to keep a tab on the visiting birds in view of the bird flu scare.
Abdul Haneef Zaidi, a member of Hadauti Naturalists Society, said he along with environmentalists, fellow bird watchers and scientists visited more than 10 wetlands last weekend and sighted a number of species of migratory birds.
“Migratory birds, including shawler, common coot, pintail, rudy shalduck, gadwell, grey-leg goose, bar-headed goose, tufted pochard, comduck and others species were seen at the water bodies,” he said.
Migratory birds arrive between the second and the third week of November every year but this year, birds arrived in the last week of October due to early winter in the region.
The state forest department too have become about migratory birds, following reports of deaths of birds in other parts of the country due avian flu.
Kota chief conservator of forest (wildlife) PK Upadhyaya said following instructions from the Central Zoo Authority of India, the department is monitoring migratory birds to detect avian flu cases.
No bird flu case has been reported among the migratory birds in region until now, he said.