Feb 28, 2010
Each time we write an article, we try to bring something new to readers of DaijiWorld. This article is an eye opener to the world of flamingos and ducks so majestic and regal. Where would one possibly find the world’s highest density of flamingos? Possibly, the flamingo concentrations of the rift valley in Kenya and Tanzania. Apart from Africa, large concentrations of Flamingos can also be seen in the wild in the heart of the Western Ghats at Bhigwan. Thanks to the efforts of Ashley Rasquniha, we introduce you to a unique birding spot named Bhigwan. (Pune).
Today, with birds threatened as never before, we need to redouble our efforts to protect bird habitats. It is evident from the declining numbers of bird species that birds cannot adjust to man. Instead, man should adjust to them.
In addition; the need to write this article is
To assist and introduce nature loving citizens, to unique and rare bird sanctuaries.
The pictures with the bird captions and flight patterns will enable people from all walks of life to easily identify birds in the wild and distinguish them from resident and migratory birds.
To aid both students and teachers to take up practical projects and inspire future generations on the urgent need for bird conservation.
BIRDS AS WARNING AGENTS
Birds are part of our existence; they are part of us. Birds have helped men for the very beginning of civilization. History reminds us that the warning cries of the geese saved Rome. In China and other parts of the world, canaries were used to warn coal miners of methane gas leakage. Today, birds are used as indicators to warn us of pollution, and toxic chemicals in the atmosphere.
It is a well established fact that global warming, due to human activities has impacted birds to an extent that many note worthy species are on the brink of extinction. Even though, man has not realized the full scale impact of climate change, it has resulted in the collapse of other ecosystems world wide which supports birds and other wild life species. The distribution of many bird species all along the length and breadth of the western gnats is quickly changing. Breeding seasons are coinciding with rapid floods, destroying nests, eggs and young hatchlings and the upbringing of chicks coincides with the drought period where the supply of food is on the decline. At times the local or resident birds adapt quickly to these changes and multiply in great numbers, threatening the food supply of migratory birds.
A vast majority of us are unaware of the fact that globally threatened birds occur world wide and their numbers are highest in tropical Countries which support maximum biodiversity. The Western Ghats, consisting of dense evergreen forests, wetlands, scrublands, grasslands and shoals play a vital role in creating sensitive ecological niches which support bird species which make their homes at particular altitudes.
Birds are basically divided into two groups.
NIDIFUGOUS BIRDS: The young ones belonging to this group are independent at birth and follow their parents, within a few hours of hatching. The young ones are capable of finding their own food and they rely on their parents only for protection. E.g. Ducks.
NIDICOLOUS BIRDS: The young ones are fully dependent on the care of their parents for food, shelter and protection. E.g. Cormorant.
It is often easy to identify different bird species, by observing their flight pattern. Each bird species has a characteristic flight pattern, depending on the shape of the wings and wing surface. For e.g. Birds capable of rapid and sustained flight have long and narrow wings. Depending on whether the birds are resident or migratory in nature, each species has evolved a set of white and red flight muscles. The white flight muscles are designed to provide explosive bursts of speed for short distances. For such birds, flight is strictly a means of escape. Red flight muscles are found in long distance fliers and migratory birds. They provide endurance and prevent the body from overheating.
CONTROL OF PESTS:
The arrival of the migratory bird population also coincides with the boom in the insect population. This is a way by which the insect pests are effectively controlled by biological means rather than by dangerous chemicals. We need to realize that Nature has provided a perfect food chain for plants, animals, insects, birds and man. In this web of life insect populations are efficiently maintained in some sort of equilibrium and not completely eliminated. Birds of prey like the eagles and hawks exhibit diurnal pattern of behavior. They hunt between sunrise and sunset, on the other hand owl’s exhibit nocturnal behavior. They hunt at nights.
BIRD COMMUNICATION: Birds communicate in a variety of ways like voice, action, display of plumage or adornment. Each bird species has a unique way of calling. It is like stamping their very own signature. Depending on the tone and pitch, one can decipher that the birds are either expressing their social instincts or simply communicating with each other. Each tone has a distinct message. A shrill tone is an indicator proclaiming territory rights or aggressiveness, a melodious call is to invite a partner for courtship and so on.
Encourage setting up of bird clubs
In sensitive eco zones pertaining to large scale nesting of birds, Oil tankers should be banned.
Plan for bird watching festivals, on the limes of the International kite watching festivals.
Individuals or Group of people can sponsor a bill board on National highways, Cities, towns, highlighting the presence of local and migratory birds and their importance.
All the bird pictures have been provided by Ashley Rasquinha, DIRECTOR – TECHNICAL, Electropneumatics & Hydraulics (India) Pvt. Ltd. Ashley is an avid bird watcher and makes it a point to spend his weekends, discovering birding hotspots. These pictures are from a unique birding spot named Bhigwan. (Pune)
BHIGWAN – “THE BIG ONE !”
A paradise for migratory water birds, Bhigwan is located 95 kms from Pune on the Pune – Solapur highway. The backwaters of the Ujjani dam spreads into thousands of acres of back waters and marshlands making it the perfect habitat for migratory & resident water birds. The bird species includes varieties of ducks like Teals, Shovellers, Comb ducks, Brahminy ducks, coots, grebes etc. Storks like Painted, white necked, glossy & black necked Ibis, egrets, grey & purple herons, spoonbills etc. In addition flamingoes are a pretty site and have to be viewed by taking a boat ride with the local fishermen. Also found are Marsh harriers flying close above the water looking for prey, wading birds like Stilts, Godwits, Terns etc.
The two main areas to visit are the villages of Khumbargaon and Diksal. These villages are on opposite sides of the backwaters and each has its own variety of bird life.
For bird lovers, this is the place to be … Bhigwan, the Big one, the Bhagwan !
Dr Anand & Geeta Pereira - Archives
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