At least eight to ten lakh migratory birds are expected to arrive in Kashmir wetlands this season as all control rooms are fully geared up to plug the poaching of birds.
Wildlife Warden Wetlands, Kashmir Ifshan Dewan told a local news agency, Kashmir News Observer (KNO), reported that so far ten to twenty thousand migratory birds have arrived in Hokersar wetland. “No new bird species has arrived yet. Birds that usually come are arriving in large numbers,” she said. “The arrival of birds starts from October onwards and they stay in Kashmir till March end.”
Dewan said that this season, they expect the arrival of at least eight to ten lakh migratory birds in Kashmir wetlands this year. To a query about poaching, she said that all control rooms have been activated to plug the poaching of birds. About the arrival of new species, she said so far no new bird species have arrived here. She said when water bodies freeze during freezing temperatures, they provide paddy feed to the migratory birds.
Pertinently, Kashmir has some 400 water bodies, out of which the officials and avian watchers observe birds in some 25 big and notified water bodies. Presently, the valley has nine wetlands out of the total 13 in Jammu and Kashmir.
Shalbough, located in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district, is the biggest wetland spread over 16 sq km while Hokersar on the city outskirts is around 13.5km and Hygam wetland in north Kashmir is spread across 9km. Chatlam wetland is in south Kashmir’s Pampore.
The birds have a habit of arriving late at Shalbough, mostly by January end and February. The birds traverse from the colder areas of the world flying over continents in flocks. They come from Europe, Central Asia, China and Japan to spend the winter in the waters of the Himalayan valley. Mostly the birds which arrive here every year are Mallards, Greylag Geese, Pochards, Common tails, Shovellers, Pintails and Gharwals which visit the region between October and April.