Lesser number of migratory birds from Siberia and other Central Asian countries made it to Pong Dam in Kangra district this year, owing to fluctuating climatic conditions in Himachal Pradesh.

Though the number of species has risen from 93 to 117 this year. The findings have been revealed in 3-day long annual waterfowl count at the Pong Dam wetlands concluded on 30 January, wherein Pong reservoir recorded arrival of over 1.10 lakh winged visitors.

Officials of the Wildlife Department said that the number of migratory birds from Siberia and other central Asian countries have arrived in less number as compared to previous years.

“The migratory pattern of the birds fluctuates every year due to reasons like climatic change. At every wetland of the country the birds have arrived in less number this year, but still there is no such drastic decrease in the number of birds flocked this winter,” Divisional Forest Officer, NagrotaSurian in Kangra district Krishan Kumar told The Statesman. “The delay of winters can be a reason for the changed pattern of the migratory birds to some extent,” he added.

Last year, around 1.27 feathered guests had arrived in Pong Dam, also known as MaharanaPratapSagar, a lake on Beas River which well-known wildlife sanctuary.

Around 117 species of waterfowls are recorded this year, out of which 74 are migratory species and 43 are resident species.

Eurasian Coot (15,410), Bar Headed Goose (34,904), Little Cormorants (10,434), CommonPochard (11,449) are among the dominant species in the reservoir.

Mew gull (2), Water rail (1), Caspian gull (4), White stork (2), Black tailed godwit (1) and Ruff (1) are among the rare species recorded this time. Whereas variety of 93 species reported in the last year’s count.
“We conducted this bird counting session for three days for the first time in a very scientific and exhaustive manner to reduce estimation errors. Previously, we used to conduct this for one or two days. So, there were chances of error as these surveys needs time,” Kumar said.