NEW DELHI: Delayed winter in 2019 has caused a late arrival of winter migratory waterbirds from far Central Asia, North Asia and parts of Siberia. Total number of birds that migrated to river Yamuna as well are far lesser in comparison to previous years. According to Asian Waterbird Census (AWC) 2020, in the river Yamuna (Wazirabad Barrage to Nizamuddin Bridge), a partial decrease in species diversity compared to previous years was also recorded. While in 2018, 32 species of birds were sighted, the number came down to 30 species in 2019, and only 28 species were spotted this time around in 2020.
The report cited that the numbers of some species increased this year such as Black-winged Stilt, Red-wattled lapwing, Black-headed Gull.“Global climate change is the major reason owing to which winter arrived late this season. Local factors also play a significant role. The wetland area of Yamuna is not protected and has been illegally encroached for cultivation. Also, the habitat condition is dry for the migratory birds,” said TK Roy, Ecologist, conservationist and AWC Delhi State Coordinator.
In the Indian subcontinent, AWC is carried out at a few hundred wetlands by a national network of volunteers, in further coordination with the AWC State Coordinators and a National Coordinator. The census on Yamuna was carried out by volunteers from Guru Gobind Singh IP University, DU, Wetlands International South Asia and other AWC volunteers.