34,000 migratory birds nesting in Pong Dam wetland

As per the fortnightly estimation conducted by the wildlife wing of Himachal forest department 78 species of birds have been recorded, of which more than 20 are migratory species.
The number of the migratory birds crosses 1 lakh mark at Pong Dam wetland at the peak of the winter. (HT File)
The number of the migratory birds crosses 1 lakh mark at Pong Dam wetland at the peak of the winter. (HT File)
Published on Nov 20, 2021 01:15 AM IST
Copy Link
By, Dharamshala

With their homeland far north freezing under intense cold, over 34,000 migratory birds from Central Asia and the Trans-Himalayan region have descended on to the Pong Dam wetland, their home for winter.

As per the fortnightly estimation conducted by the wildlife wing of Himachal forest department, a total of 34,465 birds have been recorded at the Pong Dam till November 15. The number of species recorded is 78, of which more than 20 are migratory species.

Fifteen teams of forest officials and volunteers were deployed to conduct the census.

“Among the winged visitors who have descended on to the Pong Dam wetland in large numbers are the world’s highest-flying bird, the bar-headed goose,” said Rahul Rohane, divisional forest officer (wildlife), Hamirpur. So far, their number is estimated to be around 8,345 and will further increase as the winter advances, he added.

Amur Falcon has been spotted in the wetland after eight years. Earlier, three birds of the species were reported here in 2013. It breeds in south-eastern Siberia and Northern China.

Other species having considerable population that arrived at Pong Dam wetland are Common Coot (7,127), Northern Pintail (3,621), Little Cormorant (3,130), Common Teal (2,728), Common Pochard (1,601) and Ruddy Shelduck (1,149).

The Gadwell, Spot-billed duck, Northern Shoveler, Common Moorthen, Purple Moorthen, Black-headed goose, River Tern, Tufted Pochard, Eurasian Wigeon, Black-winged stilt, brown headed gull and river lawping have also arrived in good numbers, besides and impressive number of other species,” says Rohane.

The number of the migratory birds crosses 1 lakh mark at the peak of the winter.

The birds return in March to their native land such as Siberia, China, Tibet, Mongolia and Iraq.

Resting reserve

More than 1,08,578 birds of 96 species were counted last year at the Pong Dam Lake Wildlife sanctuary.

Of them, water dependent migratory birds were 1,01,431 of 51 species and water dependent resident birds were 6,433 of 29 species. As many as 714 birds of 16 other species were also recorded. Since 1988-89, more than 430 species have visited the wetland.

Alert for bird flu

The wildlife authorities have also put its teams on alert for any eventuality in case of bird flu outbreak. Rohane said no bird has been found dead in the wetland area as of now. People in the peripheral areas have been told to inform the authorities if they notice any fatality. More than 5,000 had died in Pong Lake Wetland area due to the avian influenza last year. Most of them were bar-headed geese, the bird that arrives here in maximum numbers.

Apart from it, the department has also stepped-up vigil against the poachers.


    Naresh K Thakur is a staff reporter in Hindustan Times’ Himachal bureau. Based at Dharamshala, he covers Tibetan affairs, local politics and environmental issues.

Close Story

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • A Hindu temple-like architectural design was discovered underneath an old mosque near Mangaluru in April. (ANI image)

    Karnataka HC reserves judgement on Mangaluru's Malali mosque dispute

    The Karnataka high court on Friday reserved judgement on a suit pending before a Mangaluru court, which had sought a survey of the Malali mosque on the outskirts of the city after a Hindu temple-like architectural design was discovered underneath it during April renovation works, PTI reported. The single-judge bench of Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum had issued notice to mosque authorities and adjourned the hearing to June 17.

  • Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar said the state government is committed to bringing about significant improvement in road accessibility.

    Bihar CM inaugurates three key road projects, including Ganga Path

    Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on Friday inaugurated three important road infrastructure projects, including part of Ganga Path, to help people avoid congested routes to reach Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH). Atal Path Phase-2, which connects vehicular traffic of R-block-Digha Atal Path with JP Setu on river Ganga and Ganga Path, and long-awaited Mithapur leg of Mithapur railway over bridge were also opened for vehicular traffic.

  • Chief minister Bhagwant Mann addressing the Punjab assembly on the second day of the budget session on Saturday. State finance minister Harpal Singh Cheema is seen seated beside him. (Ravi Kumar/HT)

    Punjab in debt trap, AAP govt inherited liability of 24,351.29 crore: White paper

    Two days ahead of presenting Cheema's first budget, finance minister Harpal Singh Cheema on Saturday presented a white paper on the state of finances, saying that Punjab is in an economic morass and debt trap. Also read: Punjab Budget 2022-23: 5 key challenges facing FM Harpal Cheema “The current date indicators of the state are probably the worst in the country, pushing it deeper into a debt trap,” Cheema said.

  • A health worker collects a swab samples from a man for a Covid-19 test. (Santosh Kumar/HT) (Representative Image)

    Bengaluru daily new Covid cases dip to 776, hospitalisations go up

    Bengaluru recorded 776 new cases of Covid-19 on Friday - lower than yesterday's 820 - and 665 people recovered from the infection, taking the total number of active cases in the city to 4,929. 10,851 people were vaccinated in Bengaluru on Friday, less than half the 23,758 vaccines administered the day before. Of these 10,851, 965 were first doses, 5,496 second doses and 4,390 were the precaution or booster doses.

  • IKEA opened its store in Bengaluru on June 22.

    IKEA to shift purchasing office from Gurugram to Bengaluru

    After vowing 3,000 crore of investment in Karnataka and opening India's largest store in Bengaluru's Nagasandra, Swedish furniture retailer IKEA has now decided to shift its purchasing office from Gurugram to Bengaluru, starting May 1, 2023, news agency PTI reported. IKEA, while speaking about its brand new store in the Karnataka capital, said it aims to source around 50 per cent of its products locally.

Story Saved
Saved Articles
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Saturday, June 25, 2022