Darpan Singh, Hindustan Times New Delhi, February 22, 2014
First Published: 23:59 IST(22/2/2014) | Last Updated: 00:03 IST(23/2/2014)
Many bird watchers flocking to Delhi’s forests this winter are returning home disappointed after failing to spot their favourite species.
An annual bird census at one of Delhi’s newest forests — Garhi Mandu — found only 79 species this year as compared to the 90 species recorded in the 2013 census.
The drastic fall has put a spotlight on the degrading habitat of Garhi Mandu and other forests in Delhi due to climate change, human interference and pollution.
Spread over 894.73 acres along the left bank of the Yamuna river in northeast Delhi, Garhi Mandu has been a good habitat for birds because of adjacent wetlands.
“But there’re several factors such as burning and dumping of garbage, using water for cleaning vehicles, fishing and playgrounds that are scaring the birds away,” said TK Roy, one of the team members who took part in the Asian Waterbird Census-2014.
In fact, the pollution and human interference has been so bad that many of Delhi’s resident birds such as Gray Hornbill, Crimson-breasted Barbet, Purple Sunbird and Pied Kingfisher were not spotted at all.