Migration of Birds & Animals starts
The migratory birds keeping their centuries- old relationship with Kashmir visit wetlands of the valley every year and enjoy the cold climate. They migrate from Siberia, China, Philippines, Eastern Europe and Japan to the valley and stay here for about five months. The land presents them a comparatively hospitable alternate habitat unlike the extreme freezing conditions in their natural ones in the extreme cold countries.
Some of the bird species that visit are Kashmir are Monal, Jungle Bush Quail, Shikra,Blue Whistling Thrush, Common Moorhen, Koklass Pheasant, Little Grebe, Himalayan Woodpecker, Tundra Swan Great Tit, Black Kite, Mallards, Greylag Geese, Pochard, Shovelers, Pintails and Gharwals. This year some new species have been sighted.
Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Department in October organised first-of-its- kind a Bird Festival in Pahalgam in a bid to attract tourists and bird lovers from across the country and to promote sustainable ecotourism and give impetus to nature based alternative sources of livelihood to the local people. Opening of places for bird watching is a unique idea and these tourist spots have different species of birds, and bird watchers, tourists from across the country, could spend hours listening to the chirping and songs of different species of birds.
Presence of these different types and colourful migratory birds in the water bodies of Kashmir Valley, their chirping and sweet dialects create a distinct sweetness in the air. Some of them are even seen dancing. With the arrival of these birds, wildlife enthusiasts traditionally visit the famous wetlands of Kashmir including Hokarsar, Wular Lake, Hegam, Shala Bug and other water bodies to witness them. In order to provide a feasible ambience to these visiting avian guests, the Wildlife department has taken several measures to maintain sufficient water level in all the wetlands of the valley. Hunting of these birds has been controlled to a great extent, officials said. Kashmir has been known for its myriad avian visitor species that bear plumages of various colours adding a kaleidoscopic view to the otherwise colourless, barren winter landscape.
The Kashmir valley has some 400 water bodies big and small and nine wetlands. Every year, lakhs of migratory birds fly through harsh weather and winds to winter around these habitats. This year sightings of some 10-20 new species especially Whooper Swan and Waders were seen in the wetlands and the wildlife department is going for annual waterfowl census by the end of February to determine the exact type and number of birds as it will clear the picture with the total number of migratory birds and the types of species present in the wetlands of