Bird watchers dismayed in Hazaribagh

Hazaribagh(Jharkhand): Unlike previous years, lakes and reservoirs across picturesque Hazaribagh and elsewhere in Jharkhand are yet to witness a surge in the arrival of winged guests from afar.

In an unusually mild winter so far, birds from far away Siberia and the snow-clad mountains of upper Himalayas are coming only in a trickle, though the Wild Life Department is optimistic of their numbers picking up in late December.

The missing bite in the winter across India has been blamed on frequent low pressure formations on the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea which led to incursion of moisture into the land, weather offices have said.

A tourist, who never misses visiting the sprawling Hazaribagh lake every winter, said even in November flocks of crested Pochard, Northern Pintels and Siberian Ducks usually set up homes in droves by now, but not this year. "We expected a large number of exotic birds this year too following a good monsoon, but alas," Gulbagh Singh sighed.

The Wild Life Department, however, has not lost all hope. "A large number of migratory birds have already descended on Udhwa Bird Sanctuary at Sahebganj in the Santhal Parganas, and we hope the bird arrival will gather pace all over the state very soon," Divisional Forest Officer, Hazaribagh, R N Mishra, told PTI here.

Tourism Minister Bimla Pradhan, who visited Hazaribagh on December 7, said there should be a strict monitoring of migratory birds so that they would safely fly around without falling prey to poachers. "I have asked the deputy commissioner to make a survey of Hazaribagh Lake so that it could be developed into a park," Pradhan said.

Mishra said he had noticed Northern Pintrel, Red crested Pochard, Pheshan tailed Jakura, Chintal, Datar and white Ibo during his stay in Sahebganj in November last week, which he described as a positive development. "Once the temperature plummets, more Trans-Himalayan birds will flock to the lakes and reservoirs in Jharkhand, and it is expected by the end of December," he said.

Mishra also noted that Pokharia and Rajderwa at the Hazaribag National Park attract a large number of birds which have started arriving. Expressing surprise of late arrival of birds even as Hazaribagh is by and large pollution-free during this time, he said as migratory birds were very sensitive, they could have settled at sanctuaries in other countries on way down east.