Like every year, this winter season too, Delhi and its neighbourhood hosted several migratory birds. In the last couple of months, the field visits, the bird counts and the photo walks have been done. Now it is time to take stock and look back at how this migratory season went by. CitySpidey talked to some serious, experienced and avid bird watchers from Delhi NCR to get a clearer picture of it all.
Bird watchers in India wait all year long for the winters. While everyone has their own reasons for loving winters, for bird watchers, the reason is quite simple and 'wing-y'. It is the migratory season when exotic birds come to India from the Northern Hemisphere. Every year, more than 200 bird species including water birds, land birds, birds of prey from several parts of the globe make the Indian subcontinent their winter home.
Mukund Kumar, a bird watcher and photographer from Noida, whose picture has been featured in National Geographic and has been observing birds in Dhanauri and Surajpur Wetland for several years, says,
“Overall, this year was a good year for all birds and for us birdwatchers as well. However, the Dhanauri Wetland experience was bad. It couldn't host the birds well because of poor water quality and a high level of pollution in the wetland which made the birds uncomfortable. Now, the summer is approaching and the water level is increasing. Due to this, some of the birds are not able to survive and it is same reason the birds migrate to different countries. Also, there was a fall in the number of birds because some birds like water rails didn't migrate. Overall, the season was okay. Birds like Greylag Goose, Bar-headed Goose arrived in large numbers this year. However, the Northern Pintail, Green Teal, were lesser.”
Pradyut Mitra, a bird watcher from Dwarka who has been visiting Najafgarh Jheel for more than a decade, says,
“This year was good for migratory birds as the monsoon was good. The migration of birds was in good numbers. Greylag Goose, Bar Headed Goose, Northern pintails, common Teal, Black-tailed Godwit are the birds that migrated in good numbers this year. However, due to the construction work going on Dwarka Expressway, a lesser number of migratory birds were spotted in Najafgarh Jheel when compared to the previous years.”
Faiyaz A. Khudsar, another bird watcher and Scientific In-charge of Yamuna Biodiversity Park, says, “Biodiversity parks are a model for urban sustainability and resilience. Therefore, we have created a resilient ecosystem. There was not much difference in bird diversity but we had an excellent number of migratory birds. About 35 migratory birds were present. About 200 species were present in Yamuna biodiversity park.”
Another avid bird watcher from Dwarka, Satish Pathania, who has been observing birds in Dwarka, Himachal and North East India for almost 18 years, says, “This time, the number of birds was lesser. Moreover, this time, migratory birds migrated early from India due to excessive rain and change in the climate. Also, this time, the local migratory birds did not migrate from Rajasthan to Delhi due to harsh winter conditions here."