Shimla, Feb 8
On the completion of Migratory birds counts in second round of avian census at the Ramsar site of Pong Dam today state wildlife authorities said that 108,578 birds of 96 species were counted during this year. The report is important in light of recent outbreak of Avian Influenza in which around 5000 migratory birds also died most of them were Beheaded Geese.
PCCF (Wildlife) Archana Sharma and CCF Wildlife (North) Dharamshala Upasana Patial also participated and supervised the Annual Water Bird Count. Releasing the bird count report to media today stated that out if 108578 total number, water dependent migratory birds are 101,431 of 51 species and water dependent resident birds are 6,433 of 29 species. 714 birds of 16 other species were also recorded. The total population of the flagship species, Bar-Headed Geese, is 40,570.
The other species which have higher population count during this year are Eurasian Coot (24,163), Northern Pintail (12,702), Common Teal (8,444), Little Cormorant (3,649), Great Cormorant (3,410), Grey Lag Goose (2,297), Northern Shoveler (2,275) and Common Pochard (2,138).
The species which find noticeable mention are Red Necked Grebe, Great Bittern, Lesser White-Fronted Goose, Red Crested Pochard, Ferruginous Pochard, Pied Avocet, Northern Lapwing, Peregrine Falcon etc.
During the counting exercise one Bar-headed Goose and one Grey Lag Goose with collars was of species counted this year are marginally less as compared to last year, probably due to the impact of Avian Influenza outbreak which was first reported on 28th December 2020.
Although the total population of water birds declined during the peak of Avian Influenza outbreak, but there is gradual increase in the total population of birds as a result of continuing containment measures being taken in the Pong Dam Lake.
The annual water bird count at Pong Dam Lake Wildlife Sanctuary was conducted in the first of February, 2021 and the exercise was conducted under restrained conditions due to the prevailing Avian Influenza outbreak in Pong Dam Lake as well as the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The exercise was conducted by Wildlife wing of Himachal Pradesh by deploying 57 staff members in 26 sections of the sanctuary for counting the water dependent birds.