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| Last Updated:15/11/2019

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Himachal sets up first bird ringing station

SHIMLA: A bird ringing station, where a ring will be put on birds' legs to study their migration pattern in the western Himalayas, has been set up by the state wildlife wing in the Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP) in the Kullu Valley, officials said here on Sunday. 

The ringing station, first of its kind in Himachal Pradesh, has been opened at Sairopa, located on the outskirts of the national park and some 250 km from here, assistant conservator Satpal Dhiman told IANS. 

He said the station has so far put metallic rings on 260 birds of different species. "Each bird has been given a unique number and Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) stamp," he said. 

One of the richest bio-diversity sites, the Great Himalayan National Park is home to the elusive and critically endangered western tragopan, along with four other spectacular pheasants, the snow leopard and the mighty Himalayan brown bear. 

Notified in 1999, the park spreads over an area of 754 sq km. It supports 31 mammal species, 203 bird, 44 butterfly, three reptile, nine amphibian and 127 insect species, besides 425 species of plants. 

Another wildlife official said recently a two-week programme was organised to train wildlife employees in bird ringing. 

Francis Buner, a senior conservation scientist with the Game and 
Wildlife Conservation Trust, and T H Walker of the British Trust of Ornithology imparted training to the staff in bird identification and ringing. 

Both trusts are Britain based independent leading charitable research institutes. 

"The ringing centre will help attracting bird watchers and ringers from western countries besides providing an excellent communication and knowledge transfer platform between the state and international species and conservation experts," said the official. 

A large number of birds, including the Himalayan griffon vulture, the lammergeier, the golden eagle, the Eurasian woodcock, the solitary snipe, the wood pigeon, the snow pigeon, the slaty-headed parakeet, the collared owlet and the rock eagle owl, can be spotted flitting throughout the GHNP. 

The GHNP is one of the only two national parks in the world with a population of the brilliantly plumaged western tragopan. The Machiara National Park in Pakistan also supports this species. 

Another endangered pheasant, the cheer, is also found in the GHNP's grassy slopes. Other pheasant species, the monal and the koklas, are in abundance in the temperate zone, while the kaleej occurs in small numbers below 2,000 metres. 

Starting at an altitude of 1,700 metres, the highest peak within the GHNP approaches 5,800 metres. 

Park authorities said the best sighting of wildlife can be made in autumn (September-November) as animals start their seasonal migration to lower altitudes.

The Times of India (10-11-2013)