Chandigarh, December 18
With nearly 8,000 migratory birds already gathered at the northern end of the Sukhna lake, the number of these Siberian visitors landing here is likely to shoot up in the next one week. The birds have also been spotted in other water bodies in the city, including those at Chattbir zoo, Dhanas lake and the botanical garden.

The late onset of winter has delayed the arrival of these birds this year.

However, luckily for city residents, global warming has in no way impeded their annual visits, say environmental experts. Each year a large number of visitors throng the lake to have a glimpse of these exotic birds.

Despite repeated efforts by the Chandigarh administration to desilt Sukhna, one end of the lake that is continues to be heavily silted has proved to be a blessing in disguise in attracting these birds.

According to UT forest department officials, these birds use the dense bushes at the lake end to lay their eggs and the ones that do so return to their native habitats later than the other birds.

“The reason these migratory birds still come to the Sukhna lake each year, despite frequent climatic changes, is that no significant disturbances occur here. Besides these birds have a proclivity for shallow water bodies. As incidents of poaching are virtually nonexistent and no functions are allowed in the lake’s vicinity to prevent noise pollution, these birds find it quite comfortable here,” said UT conservator of forests Ishwar Singh.

Official sources confirmed that, besides the Sukhna lake, more than 600 birds had arrived at the lake near Dhanas with about 80 others landing at the botanical garden in Saharangpur, in addition to a few at the Sukhna catchment area.

Though it is a complicated task for officials to figure out the number of migratory birds of each breed, among those that have been spotted in the local water bodies are various varieties of pochards including the common, tufted and red crested variety. Besides them, ruddyshel duck (‘brahmani’ duck), stilts, coots, hill kingfisher, cormorants, sandpipers, shovellers, bar headed geese and mallards have also been frequent visitors. 

Source: Neha Miglani Tribune News Service