Rare bird makes a comeback to Kanjli —

Common Pochard (male); pix SShukla; (Chandigarh); 12 January 2014 (3)Though there has been some decrease in the total population of resident and migratory bird species at Kanjli wetland in Kapurthala district than last year, a bird featuring in the list of critically endangered species has been spotted in the wetland after many years, Asian Waterbird Census (AWC), the largest bird count survey in Asia and Australasia, has revealed.

The `Common Pochard’, which features in the red list of threatened species prepared by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), was spotted after many years at the wetland, said ecologist T K Roy , AWC’s Delhi coordinator who carried out the census with support from Kapurthala wildlife divi sion. “A total of 15 water bird species were found at this small Ramsar site in Punjab.

Of the total 263 birds belonging to 15 species, 233 birds were spotted this time,” he add ed.

Of 15 spe cies, 10 species are of resident wa ter birds and five spe cies are of long-dis tance winter mig ra tory water birds from Central Asian and North Asian regions. “As climate change i s i m p a c t i n g m i g r at i o n trend of birds, fewer birds of different species are arriving to the wetland. And this trend exists everywhere,” he said.

Roy said there has been partial increase of few bird species at some other wetlands. “Though species diversity is not large on this smaller riverine wetland, the total population has partially decreased than last year. Even, number of one of the dominating resident species Com mon Moorhen decreased this year,” he said.

Hyacinth, humans threaten wetland

Roy also pointed out that almost half of the wetland was covered by water hyacinth and human disturbance. Kanjli was declared a Ramsar site in 2002 according to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance. It is the smallest (183 hectares) wetland among the three Ramsar sites in Punjab.

Census in 27 countries together

Asian Waterbird Census was carried out simultaneously in January across 27 countries by a national network of volunteers and partner organizations facilitated by the Wetlands International South Asia office to record overall water birds diversity with population and wetland site information, to maintain an overview of the population size, status and trends of water birds. This year happens to be the 50th anniversary of the International Waterbird Census. (The Times of India)

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