Maharashtra:131 bird nests removed before tree transplantation for Metro Line 4, 4A
A bird nest survey prior to the commencement of tree transplantation for two Metro lines at Thane saw the removal of 131 nests from 107 trees between Friday and Monday.
This is the second time such a survey is being done for Metro line 4 (Wadala to Kasarvadavali stretch that includes 11 stations in Thane), and for the first time for Metro line 4A (part of the Metro 4 extension Kasarvadavali-Gaimukh).
In a joint survey conducted on foot of around 565 trees by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), the Maharashtra forest department and animal rescue group Resqink Association for Wildlife Welfare (RAWW), 131 of 132 nests were found vacant (without eggs or abandoned by birds) and removed, while one nest with young ones in them was left untouched near Mogharpada in Thane (west) along the Metro 4A line.
“It was decided that transplanting the tree with young ones on it would be put on hold until the birds grow older, and we will visit the site later again to check the status,” said Manoj Pardeshi, forester, wildlife, Thane, adding that the bird nest survey was conducted to ensure wildlife was not affected in any manner due to Metro construction projects.
MMRDA officials said the survey was carried out across two packages from Thane Teen Hath Naka to Gaimukh with 10 bird nests surveyed near the Mogharpada depot, 42 nests between Cadbury junction to Majiwada, and 80 nests between Kapurbawdi to Kasarvadavali.
“The survey was undertaken with experts, engineers, forest officials, and using necessary equipment including a man lift machine (aerial work platform) to ensure birds are not harmed during the tree transplantation process, and majority of nests which were vacant carefully removed as per wildlife laws,” said Yamini Meshram, deputy engineer, MMRDA.
BG Pawar, joint commissioner, MMRDA said, “This is being done to ensure that we do not disrupt the normal habitat of these birds due to the ongoing metro construction work, and we are also ensuring minimal number of tree loss during construction.”
During the first survey during January and February, 160 bird nests were safely removed from 128 trees over three days along the Metro 4 route. “This was followed by 150 trees transplanted to Sape village, Bhiwandi, where 98% survival rate was recorded. Now, based on changes of design for a few stations, this survey was conducted. Following this, 345 trees will be transplanted under the Metro 4A route, and another 341 trees for the Metro 4 route at Sape village. There are plans to cut 13 trees for Metro 4A and 6 for Metro 4 in Thane jurisdiction, which have either larger girth while some are deceased. They cannot be transplanted as they will not survive. However, the final decision on cutting the trees is yet to be taken,” an MMRDA official said.
Birds sighted during the survey included kites, parakeets, myna, pigeon, munia, kingfisher, sparrow among others but dominated by crows. “Less active nesting was observed due to ongoing Metro construction work and human activity after which the existing batches of birds may have changed their nesting location due to construction noise,” said Pawan Sharma, president, RAWW. He added that the team spotted maximum nests were made using binding metal wires showing unique crafting techniques and survival instincts of birds. “However, such nests are not as safe as young ones could get stuck between the metal wires, entangling their foot, and gradually dying a slow death,” said Sharma, adding, “Such studies are important to understand and improve how development projects can be balanced with environment, and how their impact can be minimised around surrounding wildlife.”
Pardeshi added that the bird survey was yet to be conducted across one more stretch under the Metro 5 line (Thane-Bhiwandi-Kalyan). “We are studying whether this line falls under the Thane or Kalyan jurisdiction, and accordingly the local forest department would undertake the survey later this week,” he said.
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