New Delhi: The arrival of the migratory storks at the Bharatpur bird sanctuary in Rajasthan’s Keoladeo National Park has raised hopes of an early monsoon this year.
In Christian symbolism, while the stork is the omen of spring, the bird’s arrival hints the imminence of monsoon rains, and consequent relief from the scorching heat.
The advent of these winged visitors to India earlier than scheduled signifies that the monsoon will arrive in the state sooner this season, say experts.
“They are popularly known as ‘monsoon birds’ and they arrive just before the monsoon rains here,” said Bholu Abrar Khan, a range officer at the sanctuary.
Usually the storks arrive at the park, which is situated 170 kms from the state capital Jaipur, by mid-June, but this year, they are being spotted in the last week of May, and are arriving daily in larger numbers.
The other reason cited for the early appearance of the stork is the accessibility of adequate food in the Keoladeo National Park, which is listed as a UNESCO world heritage site.
“The park has received water from the Chambal River this year, and the canals and ponds are filled with water even in this heat of summer. So, unlike in high summer of earlier years, the birds have plenty of food, like fish, frogs and snakes, which is their staple diet,” Khan said.
Interestingly, these migratory birds begin nesting and breeding from early July after the monsoon showers, he added. The breeding season starts after July and they return home by November.
The area, which is designated as the Keoladeo Ghana Sanctuary in 1965, was upgraded to the Keoladeo National Park in 1981.
With Agency inputs