Over 1.20 lakh migratory birds descend on Pong Dam



Over 1.20 lakh migratory birds descend on Pong Dam Shimla: More than 1.20 lakh migratory birds from Siberia and Central Asian countries have descended on Maharana Pratap Sagar, popularly known as Pong Dam Lake, in Kangra district.

While 415 species of migratory birds had landed at different places of the Pong Dam over the past 10 years, it is for the first time that 'salcaded duck' has arrived in this wetland, D S Dhadwal, Range Officer, Wildlife, said.

The migratory birds from trans-Himalayan regions had started reaching the Pong Dam wildlife sanctuary in October last year. Besides a maximum of 25,000 bar-headed geese, various other species landed here in good numbers, including common pochard, ruddy shell ducks (Surkhab), Eurasion wigeon and pintail.

This year, the Wildlife department, in collaboration with the Bombay National History Society, has put 15 collar bands and seven transmitters on 22 migratory birds with an objective to get their location details, flying path and breeding grounds to understand their migration routes, Dhadwal said.

Collar bands were fixed on nine bar-headed geese, four on common tails and one each on merganser and wigeon, while transmitters were fixed on three ruddy shell duck and two each on bar-headed geese and northern pintail.

The objective of fixing collar bands and transmitters is to have international coordination with friend countries for future conservation of the wildlife, he said.

Rare species like ruddy shell ducks (surkhab), bar-headed geese, mallards, coots, pochards and pintails, besides rare red-necked grebe and gulls arrived this year from Afghanistan, Mongolia, China, Siberia, Central Asia, Russia, Pakistan and Ladakh.

The swamps in the area between the barrage and the Shah Nehar downstream make a majority of species stay here for the season.

Last year, over 1.50 lakh migratory birds of about 90 species from Siberia and Central Asia had visited the Pong Dam as the surface water temperature of the reservoir suited them in winters.

Pong Dam Lake has a total catchments area of 12,562 sq km which falls in Kangra, Mandi and Kullu districts with Himalayas in the background and Shiwalik foothills in fore.

About 2.5 lakh domestic and migratory birds were sighted at the lake during this winter. The birds which were spotted in the lake included flamingos, grey and purple herons, egrets, spoonbills and storks.

The Pong wetland harbors more than 230 species of the birds belonging to about 54 bird families, out of 77 bird families recorded in the country.

PTI