Amur falcons begin to arrive in Manipur
Continuing its annual migration, the Amur falcons (Falcon amurensis),a popular migratory bird that spend their summers at their breeding grounds in southeast Russia and northeast China, have started to arrive in Manipur’s Tamenglong district, villagers said on Monday. Tamenglong borders with Assam’s North Cachar hills district and Nagaland’s Peren district.
“We’ve seen the arrival of these birds over our village sky since yesterday (Sunday),” says Ramkhonang Gonmei , chairman of Puching village. “They arrived a bit early compared to last year.But we’re yet to ascertain where they slept last night.”
The first batch of Amur falcons have also arrived at Pangti village in Nagaland’s Wokha district a few days back, reports said.
Though the residents in Tamenglong,the hill district headquarters, 150km west of Imphal are yet to report sighting the migratory birds in their areas, the divisional forest officer (DFO) Kh Hitler of Tamenglong forest division shared pictures and videos of Amur Falcons hovering in the sky in a WhatsApp group on Monday.
The DFO said the conservation related work of village authority on the Amur falcons roosting sites are now recognised by the state government authorities.
“We need to continue our work of safeguarding our winged guest, and surely the sacrifice and contribution of the villagers and the local NGO shall get global recognition as well,” he added. “It is our fundamental duties under the Constitution of India to protect forest, wildlife, rivers, lakes etc and to have compassion for living beings.”
Two villages of Chiuluan and Puching of Tamenglong district will also be awarded the state government incentive award for wildlife conservation on Monday in a concluding function of 66th wildlife week in Imphal,he said.
Amur falcons, locally known as Akhuaipuina, which migrate to their wintering grounds in South Africa, usually arrive in large numbers during October in Nagaland and Manipur besides a few other places in northeast India, undertaking a yearly journey of about 20,000 km.They leave the region in November after having enough food for their non-stop flight to Africa where they spend their winters.
Considering the migration period of these pigeon-sized birds in Tamenglong areas as “crucial in the life cycle of Amur falcons,” the then deputy commissioner of Tamenglong had banned hunting,catching,killing and selling of Amur falcons.
The radio-tagging programme of Amur falcons was also started in Manipur by Wildlife Institute of India (WII) in collaboration with Manipur forest department in 2018 as part of an initiative to conserve wildlife and also to study their migratory route.
In 2019, a five-member WII team had radio-tagged five Amur falcons, including two males.The radio tagged birds were named ‘Chiulon’, ‘Puching’ and ‘Phalong’ after villages in Manipur, and ‘Irang’ and ‘Barak’, rivers of Manipur.
In May this year, two radio tagged Amur falcons – Chiulon and Irang were traced to have reached their breeding area in North East China after their annual migration flight.