Patna: About 30-35 years ago, there was a time when the claim about migratory birds’ arrival in Bihar was ridiculed by experts. But today, a census of Asian water bird is being planned at 75 places in state.
In Bihar, from the beginning of the 90s, under the banner of Mandar Nature Club, the study of selected bird sites of the state — Bhagalpur’s Ganga and Kol-Dhab, Jamui’s Nagi-Nakti, Katihar’s Gogabeel and Udhwa lake of Sahibganj (now in Jharkhand) — was started, which was led bird expert Arvind Mishra.
Mishra says that then only big animals were counted in the category of wildlife. Even today, the trainees of the forest department are not given any training about birds, the major creatures of bio-diversity.
In last two-three decades, there has been a significant change in approach towards birds in Bihar. The government is now focussing on bird shelters and its importance has also increased during the period.
Due to the efforts of the local people, the bird sanctuaries of Bihar got place in international level books, and were recognised as important bird sites of the country by the Bombay Natural History Society in the year 2004.
The state government also published books on birds in Bihar in 2013-14. In 2015, the world’s only Garuda Service and Rehabilitation Centre was built in Bhagalpur and in 2020, the country’s fourth bird ringing centre was established in Bhagalpur.
Mishra told IANS that Mandar Nature Club has been participating in the Asian Water Bird Census of Wetlands International since the early 90s.
State Coordinator Mishra says that in 2022, the task of carrying out the census of Asian water bird in Bihar was historic. It was done in collaboration with the Forest Department under the leadership of State Chief Wildlife Warden Prabhat Kumar Gupta and Forest Conservator of Gaya, Sudhakar Sathiyaseelan. The technical assistance in carrying out the census was received from the Bombay Natural History Society.
Besides the Forest Department employees, many organisations and institutions, as well as people interested in birds participated in census operations.
During the period along with the census of water birds at 67 places, the condition of reservoirs, their utility, and the threats hovering over the reservoirs and birds were also monitored.
Trained bird guides from Bhagalpur and Jamui also participated in this programme. At present 300-400 young and old people in the state are involved in bird watching, which is a good sign for future.
The census of Asian water bird is being planned at about 100 sites this year.
Mishra says that due to the increasing number of bird lovers and the growing interest, now such species of birds are coming to the fore in Bihar, which were not imagined earlier.
Bihar’s heritage is now visible to the world as well. These include many birds such as falcated duck, Baikal teal, eastern Orphean warbler, gooseander, brown hawk owl and yellow throated sparrow.
Chief Wildlife Warden Prabhat Kumar Gupta says that the census will be held in more than two dozen districts of Bihar.
The census will be done by the Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change. This will be second such census in the state. The precious one was conducted in January-February 2022, which yielded good results.