Bihar conducts statewide waterbird census across 58 wetlands

Updated on Feb 18, 2022 11:01 AM IST

Rare varieties of birds such as the falcated duck from Siberia, red crested pochard from Mongolia and long-legged buzzard from Africa were spotted during the survey

This is the first time a waterbird survey is being done by Bihar’s forest department. (HT/ Representational photo)
This is the first time a waterbird survey is being done by Bihar’s forest department. (HT/ Representational photo)

PATNA: The Bihar government has initiated steps to ascertain the exact number of varieties of local and migratory water birds in the state. The counting of water birds in wetlands is being done by the department of forests, environment and climate change, with technical support from the Bombay Natural History Society and Wetlands International, a global organisation that annually conducts the Asiatic Waterbird Census.

This is the first time a waterbird survey is being done by the state forest department.

There are 58 identified wetlands in the state and while some, such as the Baraila in Vaishali district, Kusheshwarstgan in Darbhanga and Nagi-Nakti dam area in Jamui district, have been drawing migratory birds from Siberia, Mongolia and Africa, the Kabar lake in Begusarai district was in 2020 declared a Ramsar site, or the Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention, an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands.

“These wetlands have remained the Natural habitat of a wide variety of water birds. During winters, scores of migratory birds visit from Central Asia, Siberia, Eurasia, Mongolia and Africa. But, we didn’t have exact data of the number of birds and their varieties. So, we planned to have a survey,” state forest minister Neeraj Singh said.

It will be conducted at all wetlands, he added.

S Sudhakar, the Gaya forest division conservator and nodal officer of the water birds counting project, said that earlier, the counting of water birds in the state used to be done by the Wetlands International with the support of Bombay Natural History Society, but only half a dozen wetlands of the state were covered.

“This time, the state forest planned to get the counting done in the entire state with the support of Wetlands International and Bombay Natural History Society. This is intended to know the kind of local and migratory birds we have and also the condition of wetlands. Water birds are an indicator of health conditions of wetlands,” he said.

Nearly a dozen teams of experts and bird guides have been formed to conduct the survey, and each team has been given the responsibility to handle survey in two-three districts.

“It started on February 14 and will conclude next week. Nearly one-and-a-half dozen wetlands have been covered. Though the figures are being compiled, we have the reports that rare spices of migratory too have been spotted at some places,” he said.

Arvind Mishra, state coordinator of Wetlands International who recently surveyed the wetlands in Kaimur, Buxar and Jamui districts, said that many rare varieties of migratory birds have been spotted at these wetlands.

“The falcated duck was spotted at Bailataand Wetland in Jamui. It’s found in East Siberia, Mongolia and Japan, and is one of the most endangered species,” he said.

Besides, the survey team also spotted Goosander, Siberian Stonechat, Long legged Buzzard, Black Stork, Bengal fox, Kentish Plover and Yellow throated Sparrow in Jamui, Kaimur and Buxar, he added.

RK Sinha, DFO of Saharsa, said that at three wetlands in Saharsa district, altogether 1,235 birds, including local and migratory varieties, have been discovered.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Reena has been a journalist for over two decades. She has the experience of covering wide range of issues, including art, culture, archaeology, tourism, forest and women issues. She has also authored a book and is a recipient of the ‘Ramdhari Singh Dinkar Award’, given by the government of Bihar.

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