Birds are an important natural indicator of the state of the environment and their population within a habitat indicates the health of the terrestrial or wetland habitat. This World Migratory Bird Day, we reached out to conservationist and ecologist TK Roy to have a look at the migratory birds at Surajpur Reserve forest and wetland this season.
Summer-monsoon is the prime season for the breeding of birds. So far, a smaller number of migratory birds have been reported at Surajpur Reserve Forest and Wetland in comparison to the Covid-19 lockdown in Summer 2020. The year saw more numbers as negligible human disturbance, favourable climatic conditions and improvement of the habitat. At present, factors such as development work in the forest, reduced rainfall, and a large area being chocked by water hyacinths and drying ground vegetation are responsible for the reduced numbers.
Nevertheless, among the terrestrial Summer migratory birds, Indian Golden Oriole, Common Hawk Cuckoo, Blue-tailed Bee-eater, Reed-nesting Streaked Weaver have arrived and among the Summer migratory waterbirds, a large flock of Lesser Whistling Duck have arrived on the wetland. However, the Pheasant-tailed Jacana has not yet arrived for breeding.
T.K Roy, an Ecologist and Conservationist while talking to Cityspidey says, "Interestingly, a single Eurasian Spoonbill feeding was recorded on Surajpur Wetland. Water dependant birds such as Black-headed Ibis (threatened species), Oriental Darter (threatened species), and Indian Scheduled IV species like Asian Openbill, Little Cormorant, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Great Egret, Black-crowned Night Heron, Grey Heron have not started nesting and usually prefer nesting after the rainfall. Only the reed-nesting of Streaked Weaver and tree-nesting of Purple Heron has been seen there."
He added that other resident water birds which are Indian Scheduled IV species such as Indian Spot-billed Duck, Common Moorhen, Purple Swamphen, White-breasted Waterhen, Little Grebe, Bronze-winged Jacana have not started nesting.
Talking about nesting, Roy says that the nesting of Streaked Weaver is very interesting which makes the similar type of Baya Weaver nest but by hanging the nest on the reed -Typha just above water surface for their safety. Common Hawk Cuckoo is another interesting example of avian brood parasitism which cannot make its own nest and lays an egg on the other bird's nest for hatching and taking care of the offspring of other bird.
Roy says that timely and proper management of the Surajpur Wetland habitat by the forest department is needed to make a suitable habitat for roosting, congregation, and feeding of the birds.