Migratory Birds : Rare But Here:The Eagle Has Landed

Delhi winter brings all kinds of migratory birds to the capital. Although most of the ridge area has now vanished due to excessive construction still many of the rare species of birds come to breed here.

Next few days I will be on trail of some snakes and birds. As the capital gets ready to receive the winged visitors, the figures tell a sad story. The population of migratory birds spotted on Delhi’s skyline is dwindling.

‘‘With environmental corrosion being a natural offshoot of modernization, it has become a question of survival for birds. What we call development has robbed birds of their natural habitat,’’ explains ornithologist Rajat Bhargava.

Lodhi Gardens and the Delhi Ridge no longer get a sizable population of these rare exotic birds.

At Delhi zoo still gets pintails, shoveler, common teals, white storks, black-necked storks, white ibises, spot-billed ducks and little cormorants.

Most tragic is the fall of raptor population. The Eagles, vultures, owls, kites all have vanished from the Delhi skyline. Many of the remaining birds are forced to breed in the residential areas. I myself saw a few owls near my home. South and central Delhi are much greener than the rest of the capital and we do get to see some puzzled, sad, homeless birds trying to relocate themselves in this jungle of concrete.

Yet another lesser known reason that has impacted the population of Eurasian Eagle Owl (better known as Great Horned Owl) and the Barn Owl is their use in black magic and sorcery. Lot of injured owls were recovered according to a study in the months of jan to march especially during full moon nights.

Slowly the sparrows have returned to the capital but still there is a long way to go. The number is very less as compared to what it was some years ago.

It leaves one wondering how much more time do we have to save these precious creators.

The only place which seems like a safe haven for these winged delights is the the Jawaharlal Nehru University area which is spread over 13.8 sq km, and is home to 127 species, including migratory beauties like Black Redstart, BlueThroat, Red Throated Fly Catcher, Lesser White Throat and residential rarities like Yellow Wattled Lapwing, Alexandrine Parakeets, Plum Headed Parakeets, Sirkeer Malkoha, Common Hawk, Cuckoo and the Grey Indian Hornbill which are hardly seen in any other part of Delhi. The heavily forested areas of JNU like the Parthasarthy Rock, Open-air theatre, JNU stadium, the academic complex and the Check Dam is home for these birds but now more and more construction will have drastic effects on the bird population here too.

Urban green belts are essential for these birds for nesting and breeding. Delhi Ridge is under severe threat and is gradually getting destroyed. The home to approximately 200 species of birds , we need to take some quick measures to save Delhi’s Green cover.

This year has shown some increase in the visiting bird count. Some painted storks were spotted over Delhi, Mathura and adjoining areas. I normally see many species of migratory birds in my area of Vasant Kunj, Mehrauli etc.

The birds try to nest and breed in what ever place we humans have left for them.

The surprise visit was of an eagle pair today. I could not identify them beacuse of the distance but managed to capture some images. I would like my bird watcher friends to identify these hansome birds.

An eagle sighted near my home

I was attracted by the calls of these mighty birds and then I saw one fly past my home . It’s wing span was huge and it seemed like a Golden Eagle to me.

I also spotted a pair of Falcon and saw one dive for a pigeon right in front of my eyes. will try to take a picture sometime.

I just pray and hope the birds don’t lose their homes and visit the city often. It is high time th citizens of the capital woke up to protect and preserve our natural heritage.