The arrival of a female Pallas’s fish eagle at Asan conservation reserve, in Dehradun, this season has thrilled the forest department staff. A pair of raptor visiting Asan during winter was a familiar thing till 2016, but since in the past two years, a male Pallas’s fish eagle migrated to the wetland alone to surprise bird lovers, wildlife scientists, and nature lovers. The absence of a female partner was something unusual. This year a male and female Pallas’s fish eagle are hovering over the artificial lake to create a lot of curiosity.
Asan is a man-made wetland and attracts one of the biggest numbers of Brahminy Duck or Ruddy Shelduck in north India. This time about 26 species of migratory birds have already arrived here. Asan conservation reserve ranger Jawar Singh Tomar said, “So far about 3,500 migratory birds have reached the conservation reserve and we are expecting many more to arrive in coming days.”
The Pallas’s fish eagle is rare and is listed as endangered on the IUCN red list. It breeds in selected locations in northern India. The raptor breeds during the winter months and migrates as summer ends. The Asan conservation reserve management is closely monitoring the pair.
Pradeep Saxena, bird expert working with Chakrata forest division, says, “We are waiting for the Pallas’s fish eagle pair to set up their nesting site. In the past they used to breed here. No breeding of Pallas’s fish eagle has taken place at Asan in the past six years.”
According to a study of Bird Life International (2001), the population of Pallas’s fish eagle is less than 10,000 mature individuals in the world. Located on the confluence of Yamuna and Asan rivers, conservation efforts received a boost after Asan was notified as a conservation reserve in 2005.
These days the Pallas’s fish eagle pair is a star attraction at Asan conservation reserve, 40 km from Dehradun.