Migratory birds in Karnataka

  • Migratory birds from Eurasian countries are flocking to the southern parts of the State for their annual winter sojourn.
  • Their numbers are set to peak in the coming weeks.

  • The arrival of migratory birds to the State is part of a natural cycle and Karnataka hosts nearly 75 species.
  • While the bar-headed geese flies over the Himalayas from Mongolia, the other species fly over land from Europe and across Afghanistan, before coming to roost in the warmer regions of southern India.
  • Migratory birds have been sighted in major lakes in and around Mysuru, which has a vast network of waterbodies supporting the avian population.
  • They come to roost in parts of north Karnataka, mainly the wetlands around Vijayapura and the backwaters of Ghataprabha and head towards Mandya and Kolar. Hundreds of bar-headed geese congregate at Hadinaru lake near Nanjangud.
  • The count of the bar-headed geese tends to increase during January, but they have already been sighted in Karnataka and are expected to reach southern parts in the next couple of weeks
  • Teals, pin-tailed ducks, shovelers, and common pochards are among the few exotic species sighted during winter.

Birds also indicate state of ecosystem

  • The mid-winter waterfowl census to be conducted during January-February is not only an enumeration of birds, but also a documentation of the state of waterbodies in the region.
  • Being held for more than 20 years, the census shows a pattern in the declining importance of waterbodies due to the growing reliance on borewells for agriculture.
  • The waterbodies are not maintained and have become dumping yards for waste. Mysore Amateur Naturalists (MAN), which has been conducting the census, expressed concern over the declining number of birds.
  • During the last few years, the bird count in some of the larger lakes has diminished underlining the growing threat to the ecosystem. Waterbodies in and around Kollegal used to host over 25,000 birds in the ‘90s. But there are hardly any lakes with such a count today.
  • MAN volunteers have covered over 250 lakes in and around Mysuru, but hardly 60 waterbodies are reasonably well protected.