Bird activity is increasing in various wetland areas of the country at this time. At the same time, water bird census is being carried out to find out the details and condition of the native and migratory birds in the wetland area and to update the numbers.
Volunteers, bird watchers, locals, stakeholders and conservation organizations have been participating in the census every year since January 1, 1987. Wetland International, an international organization working for the conservation of wetland, leads it globally, while Nepal is coordinated by Himalayan Nature.
According to bird conservationists, the number of bird species has decreased in comparison to the past. Dependent birds that breed, graze and spend most of their time in wetlands such as lakes, ponds, rivers, reservoirs, irrigated fields, grasslands of water bodies are called waterfowl or water birds.
Ramesh Chaudhary, chairman of the Bird Education Society, which is involved in the census in the area around the Rapti River and Chitwan, said that although some new species of birds were seen in the area this time, the numbers are declining.
According to him, water birds are being displaced due to increasing human activities in habitats, use of pesticides in water resources, poaching and trade of birds, changing temperature and climate change. He said that the exact figures could be known only after the completion of all the calculations.
The Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation has also been assisting in the census to be conducted in and around the protected areas through subordinate parks, reserves and conservation areas. More than 300 observers participated in the two-week count.
Of the 889 species of birds recorded in Nepal, about 200 are water birds. It also contains about 100 species of winter visitors. Migratory birds from Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, China, Mongolia and other Tibetan regions spend their winters in the wetlands, due to the favorable weather, safe habitat and grazing areas.
The winter visitors spend their time in the major wetland area Koshitappu Wildlife Sanctuary, Chitwan National Park, Pokhara Lake, Bisahjari Lake, Jagdishpur Lake, Ghodaghodi Lake, Shuklaphanta National Park and Koshi, Gandaki, Narayani and its tributaries. These birds come to Nepal from mid-August to mid-December. By mid-April, most birds return to their permanent habitat for breeding.
Dr. Hemsagar Baral, National Coordinator of the census, said that the census of water birds in more than five dozen wetland areas, lakes and rivers across the country is more concentrated in the wetland areas of the Terai region. He said that the objective is to increase public awareness on conservation by involving the local community and stakeholders in the voluntary census. According to last year's census, about 60,000 water birds were found in Nepal.
Conservationist Hirulal Dangaura, who was involved in the census in Kailali and Kanchanpur areas, said that the number of birds has decreased due to the drying up of the lake, destruction of habitats, expulsion of birds from the lake and increasing human activities in the habitat.
Similarly, Chairman of the Bird Conservation Network, DR Chaudhary, said that although the number of birds of Bakulla species was seen in Ghodaghadi area, the total number was the same as last year. Last year, there were 2,058 species of 32 species in Ghodadodi area.
In this census, birds are identified and counted with the help of other participants under the guidance of a bird expert. At this time in the wetland area of Nepal, various species of birds including duck, bakulla, lama aule, and sudsudiya are seen more. The census provides information on waterfowl species, their numbers, crises and habitat problems.