Migratory birds bring ‘message of peace’ to Kashmir this season

Jammu & Kashmir

Flocks of migratory birds from many European and other western countries have arrived in the wetlands of Kashmir this season with a message of peace and co-existence as violence in the Valley has ebbed in the recent months after a long time.

Though arrival of such birds in winter is a centuries-old tradition, if the message carried in the cackle and flutter of these migratory birds goes unnoticed, Kashmir may turn a deaf ear to its own legacy of peace and harmony. With an efficiency unm…

With an efficiency unmatched even by the best human navigators, the migratory birds travel thousands of miles between their winter and summer homes.

The arrival of avian from Siberia and China as well as the Philippines, Eastern Europe and Japan to spend the winter months in the relatively less harsh weather of the Valley has led to a riot of colour and cackle in the wetland reserves of Kashmir.

The wetlands in Kashmir attract the ‘foreign guests’ due to its ecological diversity of flora and fauna and aquatic vegetation. The arrival of migratory birds starts from October-end. They stay in Kashmir till late March before flying back to their respective destinations.

Some of the bird species that visit Kashmir are Monal, Jungle Bush Quail, Shikra, Himalayan Bulbul, Tragapon, Common Kingfisher, Blue Whistling Thrush, Common Moorhen, Koklass Pheasant, Little Grebe, Himalayan Woodpecker, Tundra Swan great T it, Black Kite, Mallards, Greylag Geese, Pochard, Shovelers, Pintails and Gharwals.

Official data reveals that Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh have over 500 species of birds, including 32 endangered ones. While nine wetlands are in Kashmir valley, four are in Jammu and Ladakh. Four among nine wetlands in Kashmir have been identified as Ramsar Sites.

In October this year, Jammu and Kashmir Tourism department organised a first-of-its-kind bird festival in southern Pahalgam hill station to attract tourists and bird lovers from across the country.

The opening of new sites would be an added attraction for tourists and bird watchers. Ifshan Dewan, Wildlife Warden, Wetlands said the arrival of at least eight to 10 lakh migratory birds is expected in Kashmir wetlands this year. She said that control rooms have been activated to plug poaching of birds. During the extreme freezing temperatures in the wetland reserves, when natural feeding becomes difficult, the wildlife department aarranges large stocks of paddy for feeding these birds.__Deccan Herald