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Greater Noida: More birds at Surajpur this year, reveals census

By Kushagra Dixit
PUBLISHED ON JAN 02, 2021 11:53 PM IST

Noida: The number of migratory and resident waterbirds at Surajpur wetland in Gautam Budh Nagar has increased this birding season, according to the Asian Waterbird Census-2021 (AWC-2021).

Experts interpret the numbers as a sign of a healthy wetland.

The census held on Saturday counted 3,107 birds of 40 species as against 2,092 birds from 39 species in 2020 and 3,034 birds of 42 species in 2019.

The census is conducted annually in January by Wetlands International South Asia and the forest department.

Of the 40 species of waterbirds counted this time, 17 were resident species while 23 migratory species. The census also included six species of IUCN Red-listed threaten birds -- Black-necked Stork (resident), Black-tailed Godwit (winter migratory), Common Pochard (winter migratory), Ferruginous Duck (winter migratory), Woolly-necked Stork (Indian migratory), Greater Spotted Eagle (winter migratory).

“Overall, winter migratory waterbirds this winter was fewer than earlier in northern India. At Surajpur, during AWC 2021, we recorded an increase in number, which indicates a healthier wetland habitat,” said TK Roy, ecologist and conservationist, AWC. According to the experts, water birds are one of the key indicators of wetlands health that provides feeding, resting, roosting, and foraging habitats for these species.

The migratory birds start arriving in the region by October from far Central Asia, North Asia including Russia and Siberia, while their strength reaches its peak by December. Their departure begins by March and by mid-April they are all back to their breeding grounds in central Asia.

Roy added that due to global climate change’s impact delaying the winters, the migration this year had been slower.

“In November we observed more numbers and diversity of migratory waterbirds at Surajpur wetland but suddenly few species completely disappeared and overall numbers also shrank,” Roy added.

Spread over 308 hectares, the Surajpur forest reserve area is home to 186 species of resident, winter migratory, summer migratory, and passage migrant birds.

Among the major misses, this year included -- Pied Avocet, Ruddy Shelduck, Western Marsh Harrier, Great Cormorant, Glossy Ibis, Black-headed Gull, Smaller wader species.

“We are committed to develop better habitat and manage our wetlands so that the population and species diversity increases. This year, the lockdown also had a positive effect on our wetlands due to lower human intervention,” said Pramod Kumar Srviatavsa, divisional forest officer, Gautam Budh Nagar.

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