NEW DELHI: With winter having set in, migratory birds are flocking to the capital in large numbers. Their favouritehaunts are the Yamuna floodplain and other waterbodies in the city. A number of rare sightings have been made. At a “bird race” event held in the capital last week, 253 species were recorded by birders across NCR, much like last year when the count was 254. This, despite low numbers initially recorded in October.
At Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary, birders who conducted a raptor survey spotted the Pallid harrier for the first time in the area, while they also spotted a Red-headed vulture – a critically endangered species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list. Among migratory birds, the Brown hawk-owl was seen for the first time in Asola.
“There was a definite dip in number of birds in the beginning of the season, which could be due to pollution. But they have again increased,” said Sohail Madan, centre manager of Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) at Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary.
Delhi zoo has already seen around 1,000 migratory birds arrive so far. Renu Singh, Delhi zoo director, said the numbers have been surprising. “We were unsure about the number of birds that would come this year as we had stopped feeding them last year due to the bird flu scare. But around 700 Painted storks are here already, including the young ones that have hatched,” said Singh.
At the 8th Delhi Bird Race last Saturday — an annual event where teams head across NCR in a bid to sight the most number of birds from dawn until dusk — a team led by Pankaj Sharma which headed to Sultanpur and Najafgarh recorded 171 species — the most among all teams with species like the Red-tailed wheatear and Stoliczka’s bushchat. The team at Wazirabad led by birder Akash Hulalia recorded around 140 species, including the White-tailed stonechat.
Jasjeev Gandhiok| TNN | Updated: Dec 11, 2017, 01:17 IST