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Decades later, migratory birds flock to Hussainsagar

Heavy rains that lashed city last October helped in clearing polluted water body of toxic waste, arrival of avian visitors a sign of improvement in water quality.

Published: 08th February 2021 08:21 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th February 2021 08:21 AM   |  A+A-

A flock of migratory birds, including northern shovelers and garganey, at Hussainsagar on Sunday | S Senbagapandiyan

A flock of migratory birds, including northern shovelers and garganey, at Hussainsagar on Sunday | S Senbagapandiyan

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: Even though the rains wreaked havoc in the city last October and made life miserable for citizens, they were a blessing in disguise for polluted lakes such as Hussainsagar as it helped the water bodies to expel all toxic waste.The first hint that the lake has become much cleaner now came when  migratory birds including shovelers and garganey were seen flocking in small groups. They were found calmly gliding on the still waters of the lake. According to birdwatchers and environmentalists, arrival of migratory birds is a sign of improvement in water quality.

“It is surprising to see that migratory birds have started visiting Hussainsagar again,” said Shafat Ullah, a veteran birdwatcher and erstwhile secretary of Deccan Birders. “It is a good sign. Birds only go to places where food (aquatic life) is available in abundance, besides shallow water levels,” he said.“Before they got polluted, Hussainsagar, Himayatsagar, Osmansagar, Fox Lake, and Ameenpur Lake used to be a haven for migratory birds during winter. They were easily accessible locations, which birders looked forward to, in the decades before the 2000s,” he added. 

According to a report named ‘Mid-Winter Waterbird Census in Andhra Pradesh,’ between the years 1987 and 1996, Hussainsagar was home to over 30 species of waterbirds, of which a few were residents and the rest  arrived in thousands in the winter.“It is difficult to spot more than three species of waterbirds at the lake now,” said K Rajeev, a birdwatcher from Hyderabad Birding Pals. “Every time we go there we see only common coots, spot-billed ducks and  sometimes egrets. Besides, birders do not even dream about birding at the lake as it is unlikely that they will find any birds there. We can, however, expect to see a handful of garden and forest birds at Sanjeevaiah Park,” he added.  

The data made available by the Telangana State Pollution Control Board (TSPCB) also suggests that there is slight improvement in the lake’s water quality after the monsoon. Water quality calculated using various parameters suggest that when compared to some of the lakes on the city outskirts, Hussainsagar has improved a lot since last monsoon.     

According to environmentalists, rains can help heal any ecosystem. “If left to itself, the lake would recover faster than we could anticipate,” said city-based environmentalist BV Subba Rao. According to him, the polluted water got drained away due to the flooding. The monsoon helped the lake restore its natural balance and therefore created an ecosystem supporting marine life. 

Winter is the season when the avian population in the State grows by leaps and bounds. It is when at least 50 species of birds from the freezing Northern Hemisphere fly down to South India looking for wetlands and fresh water bodies. Even though the city is dotted with 185 lakes, most birds have, in the past couple of years, skipped the city. They opted for freshwater bodies located outside the city such as Himayatsagar, Osmansagar, Ameenpur Lake, and Fox Lake. 

Even this year, many migratory birds skipped the lakes and reservoirs in the State, as they prefer shallow water-bodies. “Though this year also migratory birds visiting Hyderabad chose shallow waters on the fringes of the city, it is heartening to see that they have taken a liking to the dry land patches amidst Hussainsagar. The government should take steps to preserve the ecosystem of the lake,” opined MD Adnan, an avid birdwatcher.

‘Govt must take steps to reduce lake pollution’

“It is heartening to see that the migratory birds have taken a liking to the dry land patches amidst Hussainsagar. The government should take steps to reduce the pollution and preserve the ecosystem of the lake,” said MD Adnan, an avid birdwatcher 



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