Hundreds of migratory birds have arrived in Gharana Wetland Conservation Reserve in Jammu and Kashmir, after keeping away last year in large numbers due to heavy firing and shelling along the International Border (IB) here, officials said.
Every year with the onset of winter, over 370 bird species, including 310 water species, from Central Asian highlands start congregating at various wetlands in India.
Last year, shelling and firing by Pakistani troops scared the winged visitors so they had kept away in large numbers, the officials said.
Regional Wildlife Warden (Jammu) Tahir Shawl said the birds had started arriving at Gharana in RS Pura and his department was taking all measures to make the habitat suitable for them.
Shawl said some of the steps were scientific management interventions like selective removal of weed and monitoring of birds and 'watch and ward' for averting hunting or poaching attempts.
A wildlife department official said the birds start arriving in the marshy land around the second week of November, as the paddy fields present them with a hospitable habitat compared to the freezing temperatures in their natural habitats.
The Gharana Wetland Conservation Reserve attracts hundreds of migratory birds, including the bar-headed goose which flies over high-altitude passes in the Himalayas during its sojourn, he said.
More birds are likely to arrive in the next two weeks as the temperature is expected to drop further in some of the places where these birds come from, the officials said.
Gharana located along the Central Asian Flyway is a notified wetland conservation reserve under the Jammu and Kashmir Wildlife Protection Act 1978. It has international recognition as one of the IBAs (Important Bird Areas) in the world, declared by BirdLife International (UK) and Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS).