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Census reveals less diversity of migratory birds at Punjab's Kanjhli wetland

KAPURTHALA: In the latest Asian Waterbird Census (AWC), lesser diversity of migratory birdshas been witnessed at Kanjhli - Punjab's smallest wetland featuring in the Ramsar list - as compared to earlier years. Just two species of birds - Gadwal and Coot - that migrate from central Asia, north Asia and Siberia have been spotted at the wetland during the census last week conducted by the AWC's Delhi state coordinator and ecologist T K Roy.

Roy revealed that it was astonishing to find small diversity of water bird species at a Ramsar site. Kanjhli was enlisted among Ramsar sites in 2002 as per the Ramsar convention - a symposium on wetlands of international importance.

Roy revealed that he witnessed just two birds each of both species. Earlier presence of bar headed goose, great crested grebe and northern shoveler had also been recorded, he said.

"Lesser number of birds could be due to rain on the census day in the area. But a lower number of water birds migration has been recorded globally, especially Indian sub-continent, this year due to the climate change effect," said Roy stating the reason for lower number of birds reaching Kanjhli this season.

Accompanied by wildlife department officials, Roy said he witnessed nine species of water birds out of which seven were moorhen, white-breasted waterhen, little cormorant, pond heron, grey heron, white wagtail and red-wattled lapwing, and the total count was 102. He said even at the Nagal Dam wildlife sanctuary and Ropar wetland, total number of water bird population, especially winter migratory birds and species diversity, was found lesser than previous years due to climate change effect and other local factors.

The AWC is volunteer-supported international bird census event for water birds monitoring and counting by the Wetlands International South Asia in 27 countries across Asia and Australasia.

The Times of India (30-01-2014)