NaturE
Avian visitors to the Valley
Pervez Butt

A record 9,00,000 migratory birds from Siberia, China and Central Asia, besides the Indian sub-continent, are presently nestling in the Kashmir valley. State wildlife authorities said they had received more avian visitors this year than they expected at the three famous waterfowl habitats of Haigam, Hokersar and Shalibugh in the Valley.

 maintaining optimum water level in the wetlands and warm weather have helped the Valley in getting a record number of migratory birds   Photo Amin War
Maintaining optimum water level in the wetlands and warm weather have helped the Valley in getting a record number of migratory birds Photo Amin War
 

Mohd Maqbool Baba, Wildlife Warden at Hokersar Wetland, said the record arrivals could be possibly due to the efforts made by his department to maintain optimum water level in the wetlands and warmer weather compared to previous winter.

"This time we have approximately 9,00,000 migratory birds in our various wetlands, Hokur has around 2,00,000 to 3,00,000 migratory birds, Shallabugh has around 1,00,000 to 2,00,000 migratory birds and the highest concentration of migratory birds is in Haigam wetlands which has around 4,00,000 to 5,00,000. The main reason for the record number of birds this time is that we have maintained optimum water level in these wetlands," he added. The danger of bird flu had temporarily made the birds suspect in the eyes of officials but no case of bird flu was found by the state animal husbandry department after it examined collected samples of the birds.

M. Ramzan, a ranger at the 5.6 sq km Hokersar Wetland reserve, said the staff was very happy with a record number of birds visiting the Valley.

"This time our staff is very happy as we have received a record number of migratory birds. We are feeling an urge to perform our duties better due to this. We take special care of the water levels in these wetlands and maintain it at an optimum level," Ramzan added.

Some of the popular migratory birds visiting the region, including goose, shoveller, red-crested pochard, white-eyed pochard, common teal, mallard, Pintail, gadwall, wigeon, coot and greylag. These birds begin their flight to Kashmir in early September and stay till spring. The Valley has a number of lakes that include Wullar, Manasbal, Anchar, Dal and Nagin and are visited by migratory birds though in smaller numbers compared to Hokarsar. ANI





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