Down To Earth photographer Vikas Choudhary captures the birds of prey in Delhi
The black kites (Milvus migrans) make themselves at home in the concrete jungles of Delhi and survive off the humongous amount of garbage produced by the city’s residents. The birds of prey can be majorly found near landfills in the national capital. Photo: Vikas Choudhary / CSE
The birds perceive people near their nests as potential predators, suggesting that they can react to people based on the context, a 2018 study published in the journal PLOS ONE found. Animals may continue to adapt to the typically complex, heterogeneous environments of cities through fine-grained behavioural adjustments to human practices and activities, it suggested. Photo: Vikas Choudhary / CSE
The diet of black kites is dominated by human waste and meat offered through religiously motivated bird-feeding practices. Nest defence levels intensified close to ritual-feeding areas and with increasing human waste in the streets, the study found. The number of offspring and progression of the breeding season were also important factors, it found. Photo: Vikas Choudhary / CSE
The main threats these birds face are human-made, according to a report in the daily The Hindu. People sometimes collect kite chicks from nests for the illegal bird trade, while maintenance workers remove nests that threaten electric wires or light poles. Photo: Vikas Choudhary / CSE
Another major threat from humans to the birds of prey is the ritual of kite-flying. Every year, a large number of birds are injured or die due to injuries from ‘manjha’ or glass-coated kite strings on August 15 Independence Day. The traditional festive yearly pastime is hazardous for these birds. Though the coated strings are banned from sale or use, local media report tens of the birds of prey becoming prey to the vicious threads. Photo: Vikas Choudhary / CSE
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