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Yet again, fewer migratory birds seen at Bengaluru lakes

Bellandur Lake, which once used to welcome 50,000 ducks, and Hebbal Lake 8,000 of them, are not seeing their arrivals lately. 

Published: 16th January 2022 06:36 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th January 2022 06:36 AM   |  A+A-

A pair of ducks take flight, fleeing from a stray dog, at Doddakallasandra lake  in Bengaluru  | Raghavendra B Pachchapur

By Express News Service

BENGALURU: Once again, many species of migratory birds, especially ducks, have given Bengaluru’s lakes a miss this year. Ornithologists and ecologists point out that this predicament is a result of lakes turning into ‘soup-bowls’, and also because of increased human presence in their vicinity. 

Bellandur Lake, which once used to welcome 50,000 ducks, and Hebbal Lake 8,000 of them, are not seeing their arrivals lately. 

Noted ornithologist S Subramanya mentioned that since shallow water spaces no longer exist, the lakes have turned into soup-bowl-like structures, surrounded by walkways and jogging tracks, and with no islands or green spaces left for birds. While the presence of darters and large cormorants is high, since they feed on large fish, other birds are no longer found. Besides, commercial fishing, the presence of humans around water bodies, and damage to the natural ecosystem have made matters only worse. 

He added that even as lakes have become perennial, the catchment areas have urbanised and concretised. Treated water entering lakes is still of poor quality, while upstream and downstream water flow is also affected, due to which the natural zoology has also been impacted.  

Meanwhile, a few grey herons, which feed on hyacinth, and purple moorhens can still be seen. But there is little trace of some other species around the city’s lakes. 

Shallow bird biodiversity has dipped by 60-70 per cent. “The government is violating the Justice N K Patil lake report and orders issued in 2012, which called for the maintenance of shallow spaces, and to see that the ecology of lakes is not hampered. But it is not being followed by engineers. Rejuvenation needs to be accommodating, but the present system is bad. Small fish species and worms are no longer seen,” added Ram Prasad from Friends of Lakes. 

Noted birder and photographer Manjunath Prabhakar said that ducks like shoveler, pintail ducks, gargini, common teal duck, pygmy goose, little ringer plover, little stint, wood sandpiper and wabler are also very rare these day. One has to go to the outskirts to spot them. 

Birders and locals also rue that in some lakes, like in Doddakallasandra Lake, birds are being attacked by stray dogs.



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