Even as the Okhla Bird Sanctuary is in the news this year due to the poor arrival of water fowl and the National Green Tribunal proceedings on restricting the constructions around it, the birds appeared to have found a new habitat a few kilometres of the Yamuna at Shanti Van.
According to ecologist and conservationist T.K. Roy, a tiny lake at Shanti Van has attracted a large number of resident water bird species and these include several which are in the International Union for Conservation of Nature red-listed threatened species. “It is surprising that these birds have made landfall in the summer months whereas it is usually in the winters that birds flock to Delhi. It is rare for these birds to come during the scorching summer season as around this time the smaller wetlands get dried up.”
Mr. Roy said a number of water bird species have come in and these include the spot-billed duck, common moorhen, white-throated kingfisher, cattle egret, little egret, intermediate egret, black-winged stilt, purple heron, grey heron, Indian pond heron, striated heron, black-headed ibis (endangered species), white-breasted waterhen, and red-wattled lapwing.
In all the euphoria surrounding the arrival of the water birds, the conservationist is concerned about the well-being of the birds as a large number of stray dogs attempt to hunt them there. “Although this is the breeding season for the resident water birds, there has been no nesting of any of the species as stray dogs have been attempting to hunt them.”