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Get ready to greet the winged visitors

APARNA MENON

Birds follow a specific migratory path, called the flyway, year after year, till they reach their destination. The Central Asian flyway is probably the longest, which crosses 30 different countries between the Arctic circle and the Indian Ocean.

PHOTO: ASHOK M.S.

Home Away from home: Migratory birds like the Ruddy Shelduck and the Flycatcher throng Hyderabad

The migration of birds is an amazing natural phenomenon, which we humans can only try to understand and appreciate. Birds migrate from the northern countries during the colder months to enjoy the warmth in the southern part of the world. It is amazing how birds take a cue from nature, when the days become shorter. They fly along their migratory path till they reach their destination. Similarly, when the days get longer in the southern hemisphere, these birds know it is time for them to go back and they again follow the same path back home.

Harsh weather

“Birds migrate for a host of reasons. It could be due to harsh climate, food requirements, changes in habitat. Most of the migrations are annual and there are also local migrations where the distances are much smaller and less evident,” says Mr. Ashok M. S., one of the founders of www.nerdibirders.com.

Through this website, Mr. Ashok and his colleague, Mr. Hari Shanker, plan to share information and educate those interested in birds and the environment.

Since 2006, World Migratory Bird Day is celebrated every year in May. This day is important because it highlights the wonderful phenomenon of bird migration. The theme for the World Migratory Bird day this year is “Land use changes from a bird's eye-view.”

This is to focus on the degradation of habitat across different eco systems. From wetlands to woodlands to seashores, the habitat is rapidly degrading as human activity is taking a severe toll on these fragile ecosystems.

Between September and February birds migrate to Hyderabad. Many waterfowl like bar-headed geese, shovellers, pintails among ducks, black-winged stilts; woodland birds like greenish warblers, black redstarts and birds of prey like marsh harriers migrate to the twin cities during the winter months.

These birds follow a specific migratory path, called the flyway, year after year, till they reach their migratory grounds. The Central Asian flyway is probably the longest, crossing 30 different countries between the Arctic circle and the Indian Ocean.

They live in and around the marshlands and water bodies of the city till the warmer days set in, in April and May, when they fly out and go back home.

Thanks to organisations such as Birdwatchers Society of Andhra Pradesh, Great Hyderabad Adventure Club and Nerdibirders who organise several workshops for schoolchildren during this period to help children develop an interest in birds, one can identify migratory birds visiting our city.

So keep your cameras ready to greet the winged visitors this year.

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