Due to factors like early snowfall in Kashmir, Ladakh and Nepal, the migratory ruddy shelducks (Brahminy ducks) have started arriving at the Kosi barrage in Ramnagar. The numbers of the winged visitors are expected to increase further soon.
The western circle conservator of forests Parag Madhukar Dhakate informed that the ruddy shelducks generally start arriving here in November and start taking their return flights by the end of February.
Apart from the Brahminy ducks, other migratory birds including the bar-headed geese, red crested pochard, gadwall, common pochard, mallard, wigeon, shoveller, common teal and tufted duck among others also arrive in Uttarakhand during the winters. The department keeps a watch on the migratory birds from the time of their arrival to the time of their departure.
The watch is also maintained considering aspects like bird flu. Dhakate further informed that the department also keeps a watch to prevent people from poaching. The Brahminy duck is protected under the Wildlife Protection Act, he added.
Wildlife photographer Deep Rajwar said that the ruddy shelducks are known by various names including Chakwa, Nag, Lohit, Chakravat, Kesar and others. These are the birds often referred to by poets in their verses. Goswami Tulsidas has also mentioned them in Ramcharitmanas.
This aquatic bird prefers open lakes, reservoirs and rivers. They stay in pairs and it is believed that they maintain a pair for life.
They are shy birds and quite alert, flying away at the slightest disturbance or sign of threat and flying in circles to monitor the situation below, returning only after they believe it to be safe.
They generally make their nests on cliffs, rocks and trees. This omnivorous bird feeds on grasses, young shoots of plants, grain, water plants and terrestrial and aquatic invertebrates.
Tuesday, 12 November 2019 | OP Agnihotri | Haldwani
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