More than four lakh migratory birds from Central Asia and Europe have arrived in Kashmir but these birds might be forced to look for other places during winters in the future.
Some of the most sighted birds in the wetlands of Kashmir are Brahminy Duck, Tufted Duck, Gadwall, Garganey, Greylag Goose, Mallard, Common Merganser, Northern Pintail, Common Pochard, Ferruginous Pochard, Red-Crested Pochard, Ruddy Shelduck, Northern Shoveler, Common Teal, and Eurasian Wigeon.
An official of wildlife department said that these winged visitors start arriving in the valley towards the first week of November, as Kashmir presents them a hospitable alternative home compared to the extreme freezing conditions in their natural habitats in Siberia, China, Japan and other countries in the northern hemisphere.
In the next couple of days, more birds are likely to arrive here as the temperature is expected to drop in some of the places where these birds come from.
According to Zargar, there has been no obvious effect of climate change on the number and species of birds arriving here but the worrying factor is the encroachments of the wetlands and the unscientific waste disposal around these ecosystems.
As a result, wetlands are shrinking leading to a drop in the number of the birds visiting Kashmir.
Tufted ducks and cotton teals that are highly endangered species of migratory birds have been rarely sighted in Kashmir. kashmirlife
“If the unscientific way of waste disposal continues, we will face major problems,” Zargar said.
Last year’s floods in Kashmir brought lots of problems for the wetland managers, but timely action ensured that the winged visitors did not miss their date with the valley.
The wildlife staff had to drain out the water with oily layer before letting in fresh streams of water to ensure that the visiting birds do not face any difficulty in finding food.
“Noise of all kinds causes disturbance to the birds. This can lead to the birds finding alternate places to spend the winters in,” a wildlife manager said.
To tackle the threat of poaching, the department has set up squads to maintain vigil around the wetlands of Kashmir.
Officials have also arrested three poachers this season and seized three guns and a shikara from them. The cases have been referred to court for proceedings under the law.
Representational Image. iamin
Hokersar, Wullar lake and other wetlands like Hygam, Shallabugh and Mirgund are the places where these migratory birds spent time bringing cheer to bird watchers of the valley.