HYDERABAD: The heavy rains in Hyderabad this monsoon has yet another repercussion. Migratory water birds have not arrived in Hyderabad, the city of lakes, this year. And according to birdwatchers, the reason is that water bodies in and around the city are brimming at full tank levels, while water birds look for shallow water bodies filled with marine life and aquatic vegetation like plankton.
Birdwatchers are turning back from the lakes with disappointment as scores of migratory birds that arrived every year are not here yet. Around 50 species of birds from different parts of Eastern Europe, Russia and Northern China migrate to Hyderabad every year by the end of October and early November to escape the freezing cold winters of the Northern hemisphere. A majority of these are water birds like ducks and geese, or shore birds, like waders.
“This year, the water bodies have turned into oceans (for birds). There are no shores available as the tanks are full and the water is too deep and lifeless for birds,” said Secretary of Deccan Birders M Shafaat Ullah. “Water birds usually feed on aquatic weeds, small insects, worms, small water snails and amphibians which survive when the water bodies are surrounded with vegetation and are not full,” he added.
This year, only shore birds and birds of arboreal forests and garden birds have arrived in the city. There has not been a single sighting of a migratory water bird at any of the popular birdwatching spots in the city, including Himayat Sagar, Osman Sagar, Ameenpur and Fox Sagar lakes, added Shafaat Ullah.
Garden and forest birds, however, have arrived at the expected time. Nowadays, at dawn and dusk everyday, one can see majestic murmurations (flocks) of Rosy Starlings in groups of hundreds and even thousands on the outskirts of the city. “Starlings come from Eastern Europe,” Shafaat said, adding, “Numerous grey and yellow wagtails have also come from Central Asia and Northern China.”