The migratory birds that visit Delhi and its neighbourhood in large numbers during winter are much more than just a spectacle. They serve an essential ecological purpose also. Moreover, they are a barometer of the health of our water bodies. Their continued and healthy arrival is mutually beneficial for the residents of Delhi and its environment too.
Migratory birds serve various important and necessary roles in the ecosystems in which they live and migrate. By devouring insects and other organisms that affect the environment and agriculture, such birds end up working as pest control agents.
Cityspidey talked to an avid bird watcher, Pradyut Mitra to know more about migratory birds and what role they play in the maintenance of the environment.
"Migratory birds help in the dispersal of seeds and do the maintenance of the pathways they come from. The droppings of birds, also known as guano, are rich in nitrogen and act as organic fertilizers. When the conditions at breeding sites become unfavourable due to low temperatures, migratory birds start to fly to different regions where conditions are better," says Pradyut Mitra.
Every year, migratory birds from various nations fly to India. During September and October, massive flocks arrive in the country, and that is the start of the migration of birds. For successful survival and the migratory period they need, nesting sites and enough food. Studies reveal that a decline in the quality of the habitat of these birds such as water bodies, wetlands, natural grasslands, and woods is the main cause for the reduced numbers of these migratory visitors in the last few decades.
Biodiversity has been lost due to over-exploitation, inappropriate use of natural resources, population boom, increasing weather variability, and climate change. Increasing temperature is causing many problems for mankind and also creating lots of hurdles for these birds.
Birder Pradyut Mitra says, "Climate change and heat waves are creating lots of problems for these birds. As we all know, migratory birds are still there in Najafgarh jheel and other parts of the country and have not gone back till now. The reason behind this is extreme heat because birds fall ill in so much heat, this is the main problem and because of that, some birds cannot go back with their flocks and some have lost their lives also."
He further says, "These birds live in a high-altitude region where there is no pollution. So, when they come to metro cities or the area around them, they face pollution. Most water bodies in Delhi and NCR are not clean, they contain lots of chemicals and waste. So, migratory birds face many problems and diseases. These variables harm migratory birds' entire life cycle and survival. Solutions have to be found to avoid negative consequences and disrupted bird migration patterns."
These species of migratory birds lead to endangering existence because people don't know the importance of these birds and the benefits they provide to our ecosystem and environment. Some people still hunt birds and make the pathways more difficult for the birds.
Regarding protecting migratory birds and making conditions better for them, Birder Pradyut Mitra says, "When one mate dies, the other one also dies, and the brood dies. Migratory bird conservation needs cooperation and coordination across the whole flyway and people should help them not hurt them. We can only ensure their survival and safe journey by working together."
"Migratory birds link us to the natural world and each other. Their existence is contingent on all of us. Every country and every individual across the flyway must take steps to protect and restore the habitats and ecosystems that they require to thrive", he added.