Winter migratory birds flock Chhattisgarh's Jashpur forests

Updated: Feb 04, 2018, 12:43 IST | PTI

Chhattisgarh's tribal-dominated Jashpur district is turning into a paradise for winter migratory birds and the winged guests belonging to over 40 species have been spotted in sprawling forests in the area

Representation picRepresentational picture

Chhattisgarh's tribal-dominated Jashpur district is turning into a paradise for winter migratory birds and the winged guests belonging to over 40 species have been spotted in sprawling forests in the area. As per a survey being conducted by the state's Forest department in association with the Bird Count India--a consortium of organisations and groups--as many as 158 species of birds, both migratory and resident, were spotted in the district, located around 400 kms away from the state capital in northern part of the state.

"The dense forest and cold climate conditions of the district have contributed immensely in it becoming a destination for the migratory birds," Ravi Naidu, Project Assistant for Bird Count India, told PTI. He said the survey was undertaken in Chhattisgarh for the first time to ascertain the number and species of birds found in the state. "Twenty four districts have so far been covered under the drive and of them, Jashpur, has been the favourite in terms of sighting of birds," Naidu said. Earlier, there was a record of sighting of only 43 bird species in the district, but as many as 158 bird species were tracked in good numbers since the ongoing survey was launched on January 24 this year, he said.

"Out of them, over 40 were migratory birds namely Blue Capped Rock Thrush, Rosy Minivet, Hum's Warbler, Velvet Fronted Nuthatch, Scarlet Minivet, Rufous Woodpecker, White Throated Fantail, Common Chifchaff, Siberian Chifchaff, White Naped Woodpcker and Long Tailed Shrike (tricolour)," he said. He said Jashpur has become a favourite for birds as the forest is well-wooded and moist--the ideal conditions for winter migratory birds, particularly Himalayan species. Though winter migratory birds also arrive in Bastar region¿ southern part of the state, but they appear in small numbers.

"Sighting of birds in good strength in Jashpur indicates that winter migratory birds probably first come to northern part before flying to other region of the state," according to Naidu. In view of the outcome of the survey, the Forest department has planned several measures for the conservation of birds and to develop the place as a hot spot for eco-tourism. "These birds have always been there in Jashpur because climate has always been that good. Although, there was only information that winter migratory birds arrive in Jashpur but for the first time, it has been documented.

Now we can tell along with proof that the particular species of bird was spotted in which area," Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), Jashpur division, Pankaj Singh Rajput told PTI. Badalkhol wildlife sanctuary, Gullu forest range and Tapkara forest range are some hot spots where these birds can be spotted although the entire district is ideal for watching birds, he said. Some pockets like Bagicha and Manora in the district are yet to be explored where good sighting of birds is also expected, he added.

"We are keeping tab on hunters, besides, we will soon launch awareness programmes among tribal communities who have traditionally practised bird-hunting as part of their subsistence", Rajput said. The department has launched a programme titled "Udaan" under which several initiatives will be taken to sensitise people on conservation of birds. Workshops, seminars and photo exhibition will be held in schools and colleges to involve students in the effort, he said. Moreover, a group of "conservation ambassadors" will be raised from among local youths who will be given a primary training on identifying birds and later they will propagate the message of conservation, he said. "Efforts will be made to develop Jashpur as an eco-tourism destination with the active participation of wildlife officials and local communities," Rajput added.

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