Migratory birds begin returning to native abodesPakistan
ISLAMABAD: The migratory birds from Siberia and European countries have begun returning to their native abodes after spending winter in several parts of Pakistan.
The birds, after flying across Russia and Afghanistan in December, land in lakes and riverbeds of Pakistan and India.
Talking to APP, an official of the zoological sciences division said the migratory birds flew all the way from Siberia to Afghanistan, the Karakoram range, across the Indus in Pakistan and finally towards India every year.
“During their journey, the birds make stopovers at lakes and water basins in Nowshera, Tanda Dam in Kohat, Swat, Chitral, Punjab and Haleji, Keenjhar and Lungsee lakes in Sindh,” he said.
“These birds mainly consist of waterfowl, houbara bustard, cranes, teals, pintail, mallard, geese, spoon bills, waders, pelicans and gadwall,” he said.
He said the birds started their return journey by the end of February.
The migratory birds cover distances of around 4,500 kilometres every year from their homelands to reach warm areas during the winter.
Breeding birds at seepage ponds in Pakistan include night-heron, cotton teal, pheasant tailed jacana, purple moorhen, besides some passerines.
The cotton teal had disappeared in the recent years and has not been seen on the water-logging ponds, the official added.
According to the WWF’s senior official Dr Ijaz, many sites that the birds depended on were under threat from human activities that posed a grave risk to the species. He said hunting of migratory birds should be banned.
A bird rights activist, Abdul Mannan, stressed the need to do more to conserve the species across the country, saying that, otherwise, there would be a negative impact on wildlife survival.
He said the route towards Pakistan was also called the Green Route or more commonly Indus Flyway. The birds begin travelling on the route in November and December is the peak time. By the end of February, they begin the return journey.
Some environmental experts had concluded that the migratory birds had ecological benefits because they preyed on insects and weeds, thus contributing to the betterment of agriculture, he said.
Similarly, the faecal material of the birds consisted of organic matter that contributed to soil fertility, he added.
Published in Dawn, February 29th, 2016