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Birds at risk

 

Anjala Farahath

Bangalore, Oct 25, 2016: The city’s reducing green cover and dying wetlands are forcing the birds to avoid Bangalore. Ornithologists and birdwatchers say the proposal for a Steel Flyover would spell out a catastrophe to the already declining bird population.

A Bird’s eye view into the situation

The Great Indian Bustard, a rare birds species, was a regular visitor to Bangalore city, in the early 20th century.S. Karthikeyan, a birdwatcher said that twenty20% of all of India’s birds could be found here  in Bangalore.

In addition to trees and lakes,wetlands are the primary habitat for birds. The gradual degradation of  the environment by polluted lakes, dried tanks, and axed trees, has led to considerable climate change and systematic eviction of several species of birds. Arbitrary quarrying in and around the city has affected nesting patterns, according to  a report by the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) .

“Much of the green spaces in the city are oriented from North-South and it is important to have a connected corridor. With the already existing high rise buildings and infrastructure, the steel flyover will be another nail in the coffin. This will affect the birds vastly. Over the years, there has been a substantial drop bird spotting; 95% in land birds, and close to 85% in aquatic birds,” said Ornithologist, MB Krishnan.

 

Bangalore used to be a hub for migratory birds
Urbanisation has reduced the number of lakes. The dying lakes in Varthur, Bellandur and Sarakki Lake have chased the birds away

Some of the popular bird species that have evidently declined are the Black Drongos, Coppersmith Barbet, Purple rumped Sunbirds, Red-Vented bulbuls, among a sea of others. U Harish Kumar, a fervent bird watcher, and member of the Bird Watchers Field Club, Bangalore, recalls the hordes of birds that National College was home to.



“The Birding space has now lost itself in the concretes of ‘development’. Mindless Development will not help. One of the biggest threat to the birds is the felling of trees, as they reach out to the trees for nesting and roosting. Deforestation will leave them shelter less. Most birds are dependent on the trees for their food. A decade ago, it was a child’s task to spot 45-50 species in Lalbagh, in two hours. Now, a mere 20-25 bird species may be spotted.” Harish said.

Centre for Ecological Sciences of Indian Institute of Science (IISC), Bangalore, revealed in a study that the city has only 17 lakes that are alive as opposed to the official count of 80. “With no wetlands and green cover, the birds are left with no haven in the city. Several species of migratory birds have changed paths, due to loss of habitat,” said environmentalist, Usha.

The problem
A National census to record the data of the birds is amiss. Earlier, reports have shown drastic disappearances of sparrows and crows in various cities in the country, yet there is no Official source to compute bird species.

Is there a Solution?

“The only way to ensure a positive bird population is by planting more trees and by reviving the lakes. There is no other non-natural solution,” said Environmentalist Usha. 

 

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