Tuesday, 24 July 2018 | PNS | Haldwani — Said to be a first of its kind in the State, an avian zone has been developed by the Haldwani forest division near Hanspur area. The area has a recorded 350 bird species of the total 686 spotted in the mountain State. The zone includes water bodies, watch towers, natural trails and plantation of more trees conducive to develop habitat for almost all kinds of birds, including wetland birds and grassland birds in the foot hills of Himalayas in northern India. According to officials, considering the current rate of human disturbance of landscape, it is likely that the quality bird habitat is on decline. Many strategies are available for restoring or enhancing an open space to encourage birds. Bird species are extremely variable in their habitat preferences. Some like deep woods; others prefer open fields and meadow. Many are year round residents, while others are here only for nesting or are just passing through on migration. Nearly every habitat in an open space will have some birds at some time. The key to a good bird’s habitat is to provide a variety of landscape. Habitats can range from sunny grassy fields and wetlands through wet and dry shrubby areas to densely shaded woodlands. Other bird’s habitats might be open ground having water bodies with grasslands, shrub lands and woodlands. Birds are an indispensible part of the ecology; they eat insects and, in turn, are themselves eaten by other animals. They play a range of important roles in an ecosystem, assisting with pollination, seed dispersal, the control of insects and the recycling of nutrients. While there is a diverse range of birds living in wild habitats, the bird communities are changing. Small native birds are becoming less common, replaced by dominant and aggressive species. As more natural vegetation is removed and as the climate changes, specific habitats are going to become increasingly important for many birds. In such conditions, the avian zone will also provide fertile ground for researchers across the country with so many species at one place which is rare occurrence. The avian zone provides a new approach for improving bird habitat and a basis for understanding interactions between forest management and forest birds as well as guidelines for bird-friendly forest management to restore the avifaunal diversity of the region. Officials stress that the avian zone has immense potential to be important bird conservation location in future and to restore the avifaunal diversity of the region.