Srinagar: Kashmir’s premier wetlands are buzzing with chirping sounds of birds as avian species are making their way to Kashmir big numbers.
As many as 8, 50,000 birds have already flown to the valley, officials say.
With mercury in some parts North Europe, Siberia, China, Afghanistan and Central Asia touches as low as minus 30-40 Degree Celsius, birds from these areas flock to wetland reserves of Kashmir that provide the suitable environment for the migratory birds.
“If you see temperature in the areas from which birds migrate to Kashmir is very low during this time. Under the frosty and chilly conditions birds don’t get the food and start migrating here,” said Ghulam Mohammad Lone, Wildlife Warden, Hokersar Wetland Reserve.
Hokersar Wetland Reserve, a wetland spread over 13.75 Km area, 10 Km to the North of Srinagar, leads the charts of most birds received with more than 6 lakh thus far, making it their temporary habitat till conditions become suitable back home.
“Hokersar has already received more than 6 lakh birds while other wetlands like Wular, Shalibug, Dal Lake, Hygam and Mirgund have witnessed an inflow of more than 2 and a half lakh migratory birds. We are expecting more birds to reach here and hope 10 lakh mark is crossed by the end of this year,” Lone told Agence India Press and he added attributed huge rush to the decrease in the number of poaching and encroachment incidents and department’s readiness to the challenges.
Migratory birds that are found in Kashmir include Brahminy Duck, Tufted Duck, Gadwall, Garganey, Graylag Goose, Mallard, Common Merganser, Northern Pintail, Common Pochard, Ferruginous Pochard, Red-Crested Pochard, Ruddy Shelduck, Northern Shoveler, Common Teal and Eurasian Wigeon.
The department, he said, was keeping its fingers crossed hoping that there was no further dip in temperature that could cause frosting of wetlands.
“The most important feed for the birds is natural one and if it freezes birds get deprived from the natural feed and start flying to North India. We hope temperature stays between 10 -20 degree Celsius considered to be the best environment for the birds,” he observed.
But he was quick to add, “We have made apt arrangements to brave frosty conditions and have made water pools to lure more birds. When wetlands freeze we provide birds with Singhada seed and break the ice.”
The biggest impediment that migratory birds confront, many believe, was that of poaching and encroachment and had resulted in shrinking of these wetlands followed by the silt amassed by the flood channel that runs into Hokersar.
“We are at it and are doing what we can to end the poaching and encroachment in and around wetlands.” he said.
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