Are we seeing more flamingos this year?

Updated: Apr 29, 2020, 07:52 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav | Mumbai

Wildlife experts divided; some say the lockdown is causing Mumbaikars to notice the flamingos more, while others say cleaner air has attracted more pink visitors

Huge congregations of flamingos have become a regular scene for Mumbaikars
Huge congregations of flamingos have become a regular scene for Mumbaikars

While videos and pictures of a big flamingo congregation in Mumbai go viral on social media claiming that the number of these migratory birds is high this year, wildlife experts stand divided on this deduction.

Over the past few weeks, large flocks of flamingos have been spotted at Airoli creek, NRI Complex in Navi Mumbai and Bhandup pumping station. This has therefore sparked assumptions that the number of flamingos this year is much higher than last year. Experts, however, feel that this is not new and that because people are observing the birds a lot more, it is leading them to assume the increase in number.

According to Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), it has estimated more than 1.5 lakh flamingos were seen in Mumbai in the first week of April 2020 and the number has been high compared to last year.

Sunjoy Monga, naturalist/ecologist, writer and photographer, told mid-day, "Over the past years, flamingo congregations are pretty routine and this period is often longer for them than for most other migratory birds. However, if the numbers are higher this season it is difficult to quantify it because with people locked down in their homes, those living near Airoli creek, Palm Beach Road, etc, are continuously seeing the flamingo congregation they may not be accustomed to. So it is a question of perception."

Naturalist and bird expert Aadesh Shivkar said that the number of flamingos seen in and around Mumbai is definitely more this year. "It is true that the number of flamingos sighted in Mumbai and surrounding areas at present is high. One can see large flocks of flamingos at Airoli Creek, Bhandup pumping station and in Navi Mumbai and is an indication that they're preparing to fly back," he said.

"Another reason why we are witnessing more flamingos is that there is less disturbance in the city due to the lockdown and also because people sitting at home are utilising their time by clicking pictures of these birds," he added.

Retired Vice-Principal and associate professor of Zoology, Parvish Pandya said, "Because of the lockdown, people staying near water bodies have become more observant. Also, if some people feel that the number of flamingos has increased this year because there is less air pollution then it is not true because they arrived in Mumbai much before the lockdown. The number of flamingos currently in the city cannot be correlated with the lockdown."

1.5 lakh
Flamingos spotted in city in April

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