Small, but an influential number of bird-watchers would be thanking rain-Gods for longer and wetter winters as it brought some exotic birds from Siberia and Africa to some well-known water-bodies in northern parts of India.
The numbers of these birds have been much more than in the past years indicating at improving wetlands, thanks to incessant rains this winter. The Indian Metrological Department has described the winter in northern region as wettest in the last five years.
Sunday, celebrated as big bird day, was the occasion chosen by 291 groups across India for on-spot census of the birds spotted at green zones. By the evening, data starting pouring from northern India broadening smiles across bird-watchers as number of feathery beings has witnessed phenomenal increase.
“We recorded as many as 100 species of birds in two hours at Yamuna bio-diversity park,” Fayaz Khudsar, a wildlife biologist at the 300 acre park in north Delhi. Red-crested Pochard, a bird that flies from Siberia and Northern Shoveler, which traveled all the way from Europe, were some of the spotlights at the park. Also, clearly visible was the magnificent Ferruginous Paochard, a near threatened species as per International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
In Keoladeo National Park in Bharatpur, a world heritage site, over 200 bird species were reported on Sunday morning including While Pelicans in huge groups and Oriental Darter, a bird known for snapping a fish out of nowhere in a pond, were clearly visible many other birds known endemic to the region were spotted in the park.
The park had moving towards slow death till bird lovers created hue and cry and forced Rajasthan government to release water for wildlife there. This year, good rains and timely release of water has resulted in a good number of birds coming there including Cranes, not Siberian for which the park was once famous and many others. “The park has not revived,” said a Rajasthan forest official after a good haul of birds this winter.
Chambal wildlife sanctuary in Uttar Pradesh has also recorded highest number of birds in the last decade and so has been case with south Delhi bird area of Asola-Bhatti, which reported around 44 species on Sunday. “The number is good and some birds not native of south Delhi made Asola green area there home,” said an official at the Asola park.
Having good bird numbers not just delights bird-watchers but also means higher footfall of tourists and students. “The number of tourists this year has been highest in the last five years,” said an official at Bharatpur park. “We have more requests from schools wanting to visit our park than the park can accommodate,” Khudsar said.