New Delhi, October 3
Surajpur wetland has witnessed a concerning decline in the number of waterbirds nesting and breeding during the prime season.
The post-monsoon season is typically the most suitable time for water birds to breed. However, experts have expressed growing concerns about these species breeding in significantly fewer numbers compared to the previous year.
TK Roy, ecologist and Delhi State Coordinator for the Asian Waterbird Census, documented the findings and said the wetland is home to numerous water bird species, both resident and migratory. It has traditionally served as a suitable breeding habitat. In the past, these birds would form annual mixed nesting colonies on the thorny-leaved branches of date palm trees.
“The climate change impact has caused the wetland to dry up though the management has managed to keep a rising water level by attaching it with a water channel. However, the quality of water is blackish, dirty and smelly.” he said.
“Third factor is that the major area of the wetland is thickly covered by water hyacinth reducing oxygen level for fish. This leaves major birds without a safe environment for nesting due to food scarcity. Another significant factor is increased human intervention and disturbances. The lack of awareness and respect for the bird’s ecosystem has led to these changes,” Roy explained.
Roy further noted that in the previous year, during the post-monsoon season, approximately ten species of resident water birds, including the black-headed ibis and oriental darter, used to form mixed tree nesting colonies, with an average of more than 70 nests for breeding, primarily on isolated date palm groves.
This year, experts observed an increase in the number of nests for purple heron and little cormorants compared to the previous year, rising from five to 12 and 10 to 15 nests, respectively. However, several resident tree-nesting water bird species, including Cattle Egrets, saw a decline from 18 to 15 nests this season. While, black-headed Ibis, asian openbill, oriental darter, black-crowned night herons and grey herons also experienced a sharp decrease in their nesting patterns.
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