Over 25,000 birds arrive at Okhla Bird Sanctuary
The Okhla Bird Sanctuary is truly a birdwatcher’s delight this year, teeming with a large variety of migratory birds after several years. Officials said that the number of birds has already surpassed the records seen in the past few years.
The sanctuary has received about 10,000 migratory birds so far, including 40 species of aquatic migratory birds and six species of terrestrial birds. There are also about 50 species of 1,000 resident birds at the sanctuary. Officials said that several species of birds of prey have also been spotted in large numbers. There are close to 15,000 birds of prey, including species like Eurasian hobby, Pregerine falcon and Greater spotted eagle. According to officials, a total of more than 25,000 birds have been seen so far.
“We are seeing such a large number of birds at Okhla Bird Sanctuary after several years and expecting more birds during this month. The availability of fresh water and habitat improvement has paid off and resulted in birds choosing this area for nesting,” P K Srivastava, divisional forest officer, said.
Srivastava said that already around 20,000-25000 birds have visited the sanctuary, while last year about 16,000 birds were seen during the entire season. Some of the interesting sightings so far are Serpent eagle, Marsh harrier, Common chiffchaff, Red breasted flycatcher, lesser whitethroat and Bluethroat.
Officials said that through September and October, the sanctuary was cleaned and painted. Besides, the bamboo bridge was mended and one of the watch towers was also repaired. The benches and dustbins were repaired and some more were installed. Some new signage has also been put in place. The water hyacinth was cleaned and used as natural mounds or little islands in the river for the birds to rest. Better rainfall this year also led to cleaning of the river bed, leaving fresh water in the area.
“Though we had limited budget, we have tried our best to make little improvements and sanitise the area to make it inviting for birds. We are hoping to improve the facilities more by the next year,” Srivastava said.
A budget of Rs 99 crore was earlier sought to upgrade the Okhla Bird Sanctuary that could not be approved due to shortage of funds. A final reduced proposal of Rs 9.4 crore was approved, but has not been sanctioned yet, officials said. According to experts, the bird sanctuary was also bestowed with nature’s help this year, courtesy the hearty rainfall.