Wildlife & Biodiversity

Bihar starts tagging migratory birds for conservation

As many as 91 migratory birds have been tagged so far

By Mohd Imran Khan
Published: Friday 05 February 2021

Non-profit Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) tagged 91 migratory birds with satellite-enabled chip in Bihar’s Bhagalpur district to track their movement.

Bird-tagging refers to the attachment of a small, individually numbered metal or plastic tag to the leg or wing of a wild bird to enable individual identification. This helps in keeping track of the movements of the bird and its life history. 

The birds were tagged at a ringing centre, first of its kind set up in the state last year. 

More birds will be tagged in the coming days, said Dipak Kumar Singh, principal secretary, Environment, Forest and Climate Change Department.

Singh added the primary objective was to conserve migratory birds and study their origin, habitat, breeding period, shelter place, their number and fly route taken and their weight as well as gender.

He said out of the 13 flyways used by migratory species across the globe, two — Central Asian Flyways and East Asian Flyways — pass through Bihar. These are important routes for migratory birds to complete their annual cycle.

According to officials at the birds ringing centre, Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) helped start the process in December 2020.

The state government had signed a memorandum of understanding with BNHS for five years in connection at the 13th Conference of Parties (COP) of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory at Gandhinagar in Gujarat in February 2020.

A team of scientists and experts from BNHS have been assisting officials at the centre to implement the process smoothly.

The tagging of rings is a new beginning that will help the conservation process of migratory birds, said Santosh Tiwati, additional principal chief conservator of forest (Climate Change and Wetland Bihar).

“It is a positive development. Bihar attracts a large number of migratory birds during winter from November onwards,” he said.

The process is scientifically approved, said Arvind Mishra, a Bihar-based bird expert. He is also the state coordinator of the Indian Bird Conservation Network (IBCN), a network of the BNHS.

He added Bihar was the fourth state in the country after Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan and Orissa to initiate the process.

He said the process of ringing birds will save migratory birds that visit the state in large numbers annually. Several wetlands in the state are paradise for migratory birds due to natural and safe habitat and adequate food for their breeding as well.

Bhagalpur’s flood plains area is the third most popular breeding centre for endangered Greater Adjutant (Leptoptilos dubius) in the world after Assam and Combodia.

Mishra was the first person to spot the Greater Adjutant and nesting and breeding in 2006-07 in the riverine in Bhagalpur. He also motivated different communities in sleepy villages to work for conservation of the migratory bird.

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