Smog no bar: Patrolling intensified as migratory birds arrive at Harike wetland in Punjab
Nearly 20,000 migratory birds belonging to around 50 species have already arrived at Harike.punjab Updated: Nov 12, 2017 15:11 IST
The local forest authorities have increased the patrolling at the Harike wetland as the migratory birds from Siberia, Russia, Kazakhstan and other low-temperature regions of the world have started thronging here, an official said on Saturday.
The wetland and the lake were formed by constructing the headworks across the Sutlej river in 1953. Since then, the wetland spreading over 100 square miles has become a home to rare varieties of avifauna that arrives here from different parts of Europe and northern Asia.
“Nearly 20,000 migratory birds belonging to around 50 species have already arrived at Harike. We have spotted species of birds including Northern Shoveler, Rudi, Shell Duck, Common Shell, Common Koot, Purple Water Head, Black Winged Stilt and Sand Piper this week,” Ferozepur divisional forest officer (DFO) Charanjit Singh said.
The smog in Punjab will not affect the visit of migratory birds as the birds fly way above that layer of atmosphere.
“We have already increased patrolling at the lake to protect the birds from hunting. We have also planned to hire more guards in the next few days,” he said.
“We have been spreading awareness among people living round the lake to treat the migratory birds as their guests,” he said adding that last year, around 1 lakh migratory birds were counted by a team of World Wildlife Fund (WWF).”
WWF-India has been conducting the annual bird census at the Harike Wildlife Sanctuary since 2011 with support from the forest and wildlife preservation department. “Census of the birds will start from February,” said the DFO.
“The smog in Punjab will not affect the visit of migratory birds as the birds fly way above that layer of atmosphere,” he assured. The count of migratory birds is expected to increase this year due to favourable temperature at the India’s second largest wetland Harike, also known as ‘Hari-ke-Pattan’, the confluence point of Sutlej and Beas rivers.
Every year, thousands of winged guests from low-temperature regions arrive at the world-famous bird sanctuary in the first week of November as lakes of those regions freeze in winters. They are expected to stay here till March. On Saturday, number of clusters of migratory birds were seen in different zones of the lake.
Around 300 species of birds were found in Harike in the last season. Of these, 200 species were migratory and 100 residential. About 1,00,000-1,25,000 migratory birds visit the lake every winter which makes this time the best to spot the birds.