Over 15,000 birds flock to Okhla bird sanctuary, more will arrive if the mercury drops

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Falling temperatures over the past week have created an environment for more birds to arrive at the Okhla Bird Sanctuary, officials saying around 15,000 birds, even migratory species, have been spotted In the region.

Officials said the number of birds is increasing every day and about 20,000 birds will flock to the water body over the next 10 days. Some of the visitors so far include herons, cormorants, terns, kingfishers, coots, gulls, painted storks, pigs, oriental darts, storks, flamingos, spoonbills , Indian black ibises, green sandpipers, avocets and stilts. . So far, more than 20 migratory species have been spotted in the bird sanctuary.

“Winter started a bit late, so bird migration was also delayed. In a few days, we expect more birds of different species to arrive here. As the temperature drops, the body of water will become home to a myriad of birds, ”said PK Srivastava, divisional forestry officer..

TK Roy, an avid ornithologist and environmentalist, said: “Okhla Bird Sanctuary has one of the richest bird habitats, but routine maintenance has been poor. Due to the delayed winter, bird migration has been slow but authorities have been slower with maintaining the sanctuary. While the water hyacinth should have been cleaned in September, it took the entire month of October to do so. The bird population is slowly increasing, but other habitats like Surajpur are in better condition. We will know how many birds came during the census.

The bird sanctuary is open to visitors from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. every day. The bird sanctuary now has golf carts, a canteen and a new bamboo bridge to reach the watchtower for the convenience of visitors.

Attendance has increased over the past few days with around 200 people visiting the shrine daily. Attendance increases to around 500 on holidays and weekends. Officials say the shrine welcomed a maximum of 800 visitors on Saturday, the day of the Christmas celebration.

Siddharth Arya, who recently visited the shrine, said: “We went a bit late but still managed to see many birds. It was great fun and a great place to hang out with the kids. My whole family liked the place because it was quiet. The authorities should probably have more golf carts or rickshaws to transport people from one end to the other. It would be really useful even for those who have difficulty walking.

Meanwhile, the Asian Waterbird Census (AWC) will also be held at three locations in Gautam Budh Nagar: Surajpur Wetlands (December 5) and Dhanauri Wetlands (December 4) in the Grand Noida and the Okhla Bird Sanctuary (December 7) in Noida.

The AWC is Wetlands International’s largest annual waterbird census in Asia conducted by WI South Asia and the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS). AWC will be carried out across Asia between January 1 and January 16. AWC in NCR-Delhi is carried out in seven major wetlands, including the three at Gautam Budh Nagar.

“AWC is part of the International Waterbird Census (IWC). AWC is conducted simultaneously across Asia and Australasia by a national network of volunteers in coordination with AWC State Coordinators to record wetland habitat status, species diversity birds and population estimates based on international protocol and methodology, ”said Roy, who is also AWC Delhi state coordinator, Wetlands International.

In India, AWC is carried out in a few hundred listed important wetlands. AWC data helps promote the designation and management of sites of international importance such as national and local protected areas, Ramsar sites, the Central Asian site network for Siberian cranes and other birds. water, World Heritage sites, Bird Import and Biodiversity Areas (IBA).

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