Study pitches for 5,000 artificial bird nests to mitigate impact of bullet train

The study found that the area of alignment houses as many as 55,446 bird nests, of which a large majority (44,897) were baya weaver nests
Representation image. Researchers noted significant evidence that birds were breeding in the area. (ANI)
Representation image. Researchers noted significant evidence that birds were breeding in the area. (ANI)
Published on Jan 18, 2022 09:42 PM IST
Copy Link
ByPrayag Arora-Desai

Mumbai A study funded by the National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL), which is executing the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project, has suggested the installation of 5,000 artificial bird nests along the 508.17 km alignment of the proposed railway line to mitigate the potential impact on avian biodiversity. The allocated budget for the nests is 8,48,458.

The study titled ‘Report on Mitigation Measures on Birds’ Nests Along the Proposed Alignment of Mumbai- Ahmedabad High Speed Rail Project’ was conducted in 2019 and submitted to the forest department last month as part of the process to obtain Stage-II forest clearance (FC). 

It found that the area of alignment houses as many as 55,446 bird nests, of which a large majority (44,897) were baya weaver nests. Of these, 10 percent of baya weaver nests are “active” because males of the species build multiple nests in a single area, but use only a fraction of them.  

The researchers noted, “Under this (bullet train) development, there will be an impact on biodiversity due to alteration/loss of habitat due to tree cutting and other activities. The study involves understanding the qualitative and quantitative impact on the avifauna nest and proposing mitigation measures for the same.”

Through primary data collection, researchers with Terra Nero (a Thane-based environmental consultancy were able to identify a total of 26 different bird species in the study area, while the presence of another 62 species was confirmed through secondary data collection (i.e., from academic publications in scientific journals and a range of environmental impact assessment reports).

“Out of the total avifaunal species observed, no species is found to be globally threatened as per the International Union for the Conservation of Nature,” the study noted.

Researchers also noted significant evidence that birds were breeding in the area. They observed specimens carrying food and nesting material, performing “distraction displays” to divert possible predators away from their nests (which may harbour young ones) and indulging in persistent alarm calls and agitated behaviour, which also indicates the presence of offspring nearby. Researchers noted the presence of nests across six different types of habitats, including forest land, rivers, scrubland, paddy fields, ponds and also human settlements.

HT reached out to Anjum Pervez, officer on special duty, NHSRCL, for a comment but did not receive a response on Tuesday.

Dipti Sharma, a Quality Council of India certified ecologist and founder of Terra Nero, said, “Based on our assessment of the project’s impacted area and the budgetary allocation, we arrived at a figure of 5,000 artificial nests which should be installed to minimise the project’s impact on birds, particularly through loss of habitat. It is very hard to predict how many of these nests will  be used. They are typically more successful in urban settings, with species such as sparrows. For baya weavers, nest building is an important part of their behaviour so they may not take to artificial nests at all.”

Terra Nero’s study recommends, “An optimal density of about 5,000 artificial nests is suggested to be placed in the study area as an effort towards rehabilitation of the disturbed birds. The artificial nests should be a mixture of a box type as well as platform and cup type nests made of materials usually used by birds. The placement of these artificial nests may be in a mixture of natural and modified habitats. It must be ensured that after placing the artificial nests, the overall carrying capacity of those habitats is not exceeded.”

Veteran birder and former director of the Bombay Natural History Society, Dr Asad Rahmani, said, “I cannot comment on this report as I have not seen it, but the use of artificial nests is not very effective at mitigating the impact of any project. Fortunately, birds are not as affected as terrestrial mammals by liner intrusions. Nevertheless, the project proponent should ensure that habitat restoration is carried out around the project area so that the birds do not move away due to loss of trees.”

Close Story

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • The Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) declared the Class-10 results on Tuesday. (HT Photo)

    PSEB Class-10 results: Mohali rises in ranking, slips in pass percentage

    Even though Mohali district rose by two spots from last year's ranking in the PSEB Class 10 exams, its pass percentage dropped from 99.91% to 99%. Last year, Mohali was placed 17th among the 23 districts. This year, it improved its standing to 15th, with Gurdaspur district bagging the top spot. As many as 9,401 students from 109 Mohali schools appeared in the exams and 9,307 passed.

  • A pack of five atracurim vials, a paralytic drug used in anaesthesia, was lying near the doctor, with four of the vials empty, said Mohali police. (iStock)

    32-year-old doctor ends life in Mohali’s Phase 2

    A 32-year-old doctor allegedly ended his life by injecting himself with a paralytic drug used in anaesthesia at his rented accommodation in Phase 2 on Monday night. The doctor, who hailed from Rupnagar, was living alone in the rented house for the last three months and worked at a private hospital in Sector 34, Chandigarh. The autopsy will be conducted at the Phase-6 civil hospital on Wednesday.

  • On Monday, Kalyani had applied for bail before a local court. Her plea will be taken up for hearing on July 8. (HT Photo)

    Sippy Sidhu murder: Kalyani’s judicial custody extended

    A local court on Tuesday extended the judicial custody of Kalyani Singh, an accused in the murder of national-level shooter and lawyer Sukhmanpreet Singh, alias Sippy Sidhu. Lodged in Model Jail, Sector 51, since June 21, Kalyani, 36, was produced in court via video conferencing. On Monday, she had applied for bail before a local court. Her plea will be taken up for hearing on July 8.

  • Chandigarh administration had recently appointed 30 medical officers on deputation from Punjab, two from Himachal Pradeshand one from Delhi, while hiring none from Haryana. (HT)

    Haryana miffed over Chandigarh hiring medical officers from Punjab, other states

    The UT administration's decision to appoint 33 medical officers (MOs) on deputation from Punjab, Delhi and Himachal Pradesh, and none from Haryana has not gone down well with the Haryana government. Highlighting its displeasure through a letter, the Haryana government has urged the UT administration to maintain the 60:40 ratio between Punjab and Haryana while filling up the vacant posts of MOs and dental surgeons. Till then, Haryana had not sent any panel of doctors.

  • The fee hike will not apply to students belonging to SC/ST and EWS categories. (HT File Photo)

    Panjab University senate okays fee hike for campus, affiliated colleges

    In a major decision, the Panjab University senate on Tuesday approved the proposed fee hike in its teaching departments, regional centres and affiliated colleges for the 2022-23 session. A 5% increase in fee will be implemented for students of the ongoing batches. The fee hike, however, was met with opposition by some senators. The fee hikes over the past years have never gone down well with students.

Story Saved
Saved Articles
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Wednesday, July 06, 2022