Among the migratory bird species that have arrived thus far are geese, mallards, pochards, gadwals, pintails, waders, coots, and common teals.
Lakhs of migratory birds have arrived in the wetlands to spend the winter months, keeping their tryst with Kashmir.
According to the local Wildlife Department officials, there are around 4 lakh seasonal birds of various kinds in the valley’s bird reserves and other wetlands.
Dramatic numbers about migratory birds flying to Kashmir
Given the estimates being rough and initial, it is expected that these numbers will grow dramatically in the following days.
At the moment, the Hokersar bird reserve has roughly one lakh migratory birds, another one lakh has arrived in Hygam while 50,000 more are housed in the Shallabugh bird reserve. Besides, there are also 20,000 birds in Chatlum, 30,000 in Wular Lake, and over a lakh in Srinagar’s famed Dal Lake.
Geese, mallards, pochards, gadwals, pintails, waders, coots, and common teals are among the migratory bird species that have arrived thus far.
Water management essential for comforting stay of migratory birds
To welcome their stay for the winter months, water is now regulated to the optimum in Hokersar reserve by the authorities from the J-K’s Wildlife Department.
There are no concerns with regard to water management in Hygam, but water management and regulation in the Shallabugh bird reserve is incomplete. The ‘under process’ work is claimed to be completed by the Department very soon.
So far as the Pampore wetlands in Pulwama district are concerned, these are well-positioned in terms of water management. Similarly, the Wular and Dal lakes are also naturally supplied and drained bodies of water.
Poaching in wetlands of Kashmir
Inside the bird reserves like Hokersar, Hygam, and Shallabugh, where permanent employees of the Department are placed round the clock, there is no fear of poachers.
However, in unprotected, isolated wetlands, poaching becomes a concern.
In recent years, the authorities have confiscated the firearms of poachers and taken other legal proceedings against such violators.
Surprise visits to such unprotected wetlands, whenever sporadic incidences of poaching have come to light, have also taken place to warn the offenders and keep them at bay.
Poaching declared illegal under laws
Local regulations adopted in 1978 made it illegal to shoot migratory birds. However, when Article 370 was revoked and J-K was demoted to a union territory, like all other State laws, the law about poaching was repealed and replaced.
Consequently, poaching was made illegal under the Indian Wildlife Protection Act 1972.
Migratory birds fly to Kashmir every year
Kashmir has long been recognized for its plethora of bird visitors. The cackling of migrating birds in a clear night sky or in communities near local wetlands has always been a treat of nature.
Migratory birds fly to Kashmir every year via the Central Asian flyway, which includes Siberia, North China, and northern Europe, to escape the bitter cold of their summer habitats. Because their summer habitats stay frozen during the winter months, these birds spend late October to the end of April in the Valley’s considerably less chilly environs.
It is in place to note that the study of bird migration has given humans the fundamentals of navigation. It is the oldest bird that leads the flock on its migration from summer to winter habitats, given the flock leader is well-versed with the thousands of miles-long journeys.
When the eldest bird dies, the next in age and experience takes over the flight, much like a modern-day co-pilot of an aeroplane.
Dil-Paziir (Urdu; meaning ‘heart pleasing‘) is a special edition positive news series brought to you by Digpu, sourced from conflict areas, starting from Kashmir. Our local journalists have successfully shared many inspirational stories from the valley – from the invention of E-Charkha, automatic ventilator in Kashmir, stories of brotherhood through to the first-ever cricket tourney for Blind sportsmen, all the stories make us awe-struck. These are NOT FOR REPRODUCTION.