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Birds’ behaviour a harbinger of spring, say experts

noida Updated: Jan 29, 2016 23:39 IST

A Brahminy Kite in flight. Ornithologists say presence of raptors in the sky indicates onset of spring.(Mugdha Singh)

Despite the late arrival of winter, ornithologists are already predicting the onset of spring after observing the behaviour of birds and their movement patterns.

Avian experts say spring will set in soon in the northern parts of the country.

“The birds that migrate here for winter have already started on their long flight back home. Birds that migrated from the far north are the first to leave. Flocks of pelicans and ducks can be observed in flight early in the morning,” said Manoj Kumar, a student of animal behaviour.

Experts say flocks of raptors can also be observed in the skies. “This is the mating season for kites and eagles and one can see more than 10 raptors flying together. This and other signs like mating and moulting help biologists know that it is the season when birds start building their nests,” Manoj said.

The hibernation of sparrows and sunbirds has also ended with the advent of spring, Manoj said.

“Birds do not hibernate for long periods. During winters, they spend most of the time near their nest or take cover somewhere to avoid the cold winter breeze,” he said.

“Now, as the winter is coming to an end, we can see birds chirping in the open. Sparrows, sunbirds, warblers and prinias can be seen in gardens and farmlands. It is also the best time to place artificial nests in gardens and parks to support nesting of native birds,” Manoj said.

Talking about the connection between behaviour of birds and spring season, environmentalist AK Sinha said, “One of the most interesting behaviour occurs in spring — when birds start pecking on the glass windows. It is most common among sparrows.”

“It is the time of the year when most of the birds are ready to mate and start nesting. In their urge to protect their nests, birds attack other birds that approach their territory. Similarly, they start attacking their reflection as well. All these signs indicate that spring is around the corner and the birds have started preparing for it,” he said.