Bird nests removed in Thane before felling trees for Metro 4 - Hindustan Times

Bird nests removed in Thane before felling trees for Metro 4

Feb 01, 2020 12:46 AM IST

Thane More than 160 bird nests were safely removed from 128 trees in the past three days along the Metro 4 route on Wadala to Kasarvadavli stretch.

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Environmental organisations, forest department and Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) carried out the drive before felling the trees for the projects.

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A total of 913 trees were surveyed to check for nests or habitation of any kind of wildlife, after which MMRDA gave a go-ahead to transplant the trees.

For the first time in Thane, officials undertook a scientific survey on trees affected in developmental project.

The first survey of nests on the trees was done in first week of January. Since the trees were not transplanted in more than three weeks, an extensive survey of all the 913 trees was undertaken this week.

Pawan Sharma, president of Resqink Association for Wildlife welfare (RAWW), said, “We found that 128 trees had bird nests. Around 160 nests were found in our survey. We also climbed up trees to ensure we haven’t missed any nest which might have been hidden among branches. All the nests found were empty and not occupied by birds or young ones. We have removed them from the trees and asked the MMRDA to transplant so the trees will not be reoccupied.”

Sharma said this patch was easy as the trees were along the roads and rare bird species do not occupy such trees. Moreover, the noise from on-going construction activity might also have scared the birds and most of them might have flown away.

He said that they chose to survey the trees at this time as this was not the nesting season for birds.

“Nests were empty and we will not have to deal with baby birds. Despite our best care, we would have not treated the small birds the same way as the mother. We have handed over the empty nests to the forest department who will make a report certifying that they were empty and we have not harmed any birds.”

He said most of the nests were of crows and pigeons. “The same pattern should be repeated in other projects,” Sharma added.

Manoj Pardeshi, forester, wildlife, Thane, said, “Following the destruction of wildlife in Aarey forest, it was a collective decision to save at least the nests on the trees which will be affected in the Metro project. We counted all the trees which had nests and removed the nests. The nests were made from binding wires used in constructions, metal wires and twigs.”

Pardeshi said that while none of the nests was occupied, the decision to destroy or relocate them will be taken by the superiors.

“We will submit a report to them that none of these nests were occupied nor did any of them have eggs in them. As per the norms of the Wildlife Act, a further course of action will be decided.”

Around 11% work on the Metro Line 4 project is completed. The deadline to complete the project is 2022-23.

An MMRDA official requesting anonymity said, “We had transplanted around 150 trees till now which did not have nests as per the earlier survey of the forest department and the NGOs. They had requested us not to transplant any more trees until the nest count was completed. Now that they have completed the nest count, we will start the transplantation of the remaining trees. We plant to complete it in one month.”

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    I am a special correspondent with Hindustan Times and also the chief of bureau for Thane. I have worked in Thane for over a decade, covering social, civic, infrastructural, political and cultural issues.

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