KanpurEach year thousands of migratory birds travel thousands of miles to settle around the beautiful lake of Kanpur zoological garden in this season.Not so this time.While the flocks of Asiatic sparrows and Pacific golden plovers arrived here last week, they flew back within days ostensibly after finding the air unpalatable, claimed veterinarian Dr Nasir (he goes by one name).“The migratory birds were seen over the trees near the lake. They stayed there for four-five days and then left the place. A few species, which are also regular visitors, have stayed back but their number is much lower than previous years,” he said.Dr Rakesh Kumar, who has been studying the behaviour of the migratory birds, said these birds come from the Himalayan region during winters and return to their native place at the onset of summer season.“Since most of the migratory birds live in pollution free zones they cannot adjust here due to high pollution rate and move out to another places,” he said. “The Pacific Golden Plover bird is highly sensitive to pollution. It prefers to live in absolute pollution free areas,” said Kumar.He said most of the bird watchers and the bird research scholars are disappointed as they did not get an opportunity this time to go ahead with their studies on the migratory bird.Senior officer of the zoo said the lake in the Kanpur Zoological Park has been the centre of migratory birds during every winter. But for higher air pollution many of the migratory birds did not prefer to stay here this winter.As against previous years, the number of migratory birds has decreased by 60%. Only two to three species of the migratory birds such as Painted Stork, Darter and black winged stilt were seen near the lake.Despite good ambience and plenty of feed materials for the bird in the zoo lake like unio (Ghongha) and Pyle (Seep), the migratory birds did not settle here. They, however, stayed for few minutes on the trees near the lake but soon flew away to some other places.The official said that the situation of Nawabganj Bird sanctuary was also bad. The sanctuary witnessed only 10% of the migratory birds due to air pollution in the area.The most probable cause of birds not settling here is the polluted air. The migratory birds are highly sensitive to air pollution.“We are taking extra precautions with the birds coming from Siberia as they are supposed to be the carrier of bird flu. Samples from all the six districts of the Kanpur division are being collected for bird flu test,” said superintendent of divisional laboratory of animal husbandry department, Dr UK Bajpai.“Most of the Siberian birds are settled in Kanpur, Unnao, Kannauj and Etawah. We are collecting at least 30 samples every month,” said Bajpai.High pollution also affecting humans.The air pollution has crossed the permissible limit in the city and has been posing serious threat to the people of the city. During this week, the PM 2.5 level was recorded as high as 412 microgram per cubic meter which was six times higher than the permissible limit. According to environmentalist, the pollution rate was high as the air flow was very minimal.According to the former principal of the GSVM Medical College and chest specialist Dr SK Katiyar due to high air pollution the lung diseases were also on increase. “Besides it has also been affecting the eyes, throat and the respiratory track. Most of the children are facing breathing problem,” he said.According to Dr Katiyar, the situation would further worsen if the air pollution was not contained by taking stringent measures.