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Updated: November 15, 2013 04:10 IST

Amur falcons, satellite-tagged in Nagaland, tracked over Arabian Sea

Sushanta Talukdar
Comment (8)   ·   print   ·   T  T  
An Amur Falcon.
Special Arrangement An Amur Falcon.

Amur falcons Naga and Pangti, which were satellite-tagged in Nagaland, were on Thursday tracked flying over the Arabian Sea, the most difficult stretch of their migratory routes, after passing over Bangladesh, the Bay of Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra towards their final destination in South Africa.

The third falcon, Wokha, was tracked flying over the Bay of Bengal.

Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and head of the Forest Force, Nagaland, M. Lokeswara Rao told The Hindu that the tracking began soon after the three birds were released on November 6 after satellite tags with an antenna and solar panel, weighing five grams, had been fitted on their back by a team of scientists.

“For the scientists, the arrival of Amur falcons in Nagaland on their long migration from Mongolia to South Africa is still a mystery. On their return flight, they will fly over Bangladesh and Myanmar after entering India but skip Nagaland. I asked this question to the team of scientists who carried out the satellite tagging. But they had no answer,” he said.

Since November 7, Naga, a male, had taken the route of Wokha in Nagaland, Assam, Bangladesh, the Bay of Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka before entering the airspace over the Arabian Sea. During the same period, Pangti, a female, took the route of Wokha, Assam, Bangladesh, West Bengal, the Bay of Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra before beginning the journey over the Arabian Sea. Wokha, also a female, followed Pangti’s path and was tracked flying over the Bay of Bengal way behind the other two. The movements of all three birds are being monitored by scientists in Hungary, filtering satellite data through a dedicated website.

Every year, from October to November, a large number of Amur falcons arrive in the northeast, especially in Nagaland for roosting, from Southeastern Siberia and northern China en route to their final destinations — Somalia, Kenya and South Africa. Amur falcons travel up to 22,000 km a year — one of the longest distances of migration. This is the first time Amur falcons in Nagaland were satellite-tagged and their movements to South Africa are being monitored.

Joint mission

The tagging was a joint mission undertaken at Pangti village in Wokha district by two leading scientists from MME/BirdLife Hungary, Peter Fehervani and Szabolcs Soil; Nick Williams, Programme Officer — Birds of Prey (Raptors), Convention on Migratory Species Office Abu Dhabi, United Nations Environment Programme; R. Suresh, a scientist from the Wildlife Institute of India, and the Nagaland Forest Department. Pangti villagers helped the scientists in trapping the falcons and fitting the satellite tags.

Kudos to scientists and conservationists for this effort. Kudos too to
the local populace for being involved. It is easy to be armchair
conservationists when one's livelihood is not at stake which is why it
is commendable that the local Nagas are helping.
@Narendra - I too have read about reports from 2010 about hunters in
the state of Nagaland capturing upto a lakh birds for sale. Let's not
be quick to judge people. Let's not forget the widespread decimation
of fish populations by industrial trawlers from all countries
including India. If a particular fish is not edible, it is ground up
to make fish food for aquaculture farms.

from:  Rahul Garg
Posted on: Nov 17, 2013 at 19:33 IST

Hope this year Nagas won't kill these beautiful birds. I was shocked by
a report last year about killing of approx. lakh of these birds by
Nagas.

from:  Narendra
Posted on: Nov 16, 2013 at 08:48 IST

Cruel !! Just imagine how uncomfortable the tag will be for the bird.

from:  Vijay
Posted on: Nov 15, 2013 at 14:53 IST

Hats off to the villagers of Pangti Village for trapping the falcons and the two leading scientists from MME/Birdlife Hungary and others who helped fitting the satellite tags. A great job. It is an inspiring story that the falcaons travel up to 22,000 km.How great is the Intelligent Designer.

from:  Vijay Lyngdoh
Posted on: Nov 15, 2013 at 14:05 IST

Why don't we fit a spy camera on these birds. They would be the smallest and the best spy drones in the world.

from:  JAMUNALAL ROUT
Posted on: Nov 15, 2013 at 11:04 IST

good initiative....

from:  suresh dhar
Posted on: Nov 15, 2013 at 10:16 IST

In Tamil Nadu, falcons are spotted, but with white half ring spread on
grey feathers. Locals call it 'Kottan'.About 30- 40 years back one can
see this bird as a competitor to crow and vulture flying fast near
bushes and lonely trees, may be chasing their prey and now it is rarely
spotted.I have not seen Amur falcon in around Chennai as it differs from
local ones whose beak is slightly of light shade unlike Amur's mixed
with pink.

from:  scnehruroy
Posted on: Nov 15, 2013 at 06:49 IST

Thank you very much for bringing this news to me and your readers; I would also like to thank Ms. Sushanta Talukdar for all the details.
I once saw a TV program of a pilot in a small plane who followed some geese migrating, and the program had amazing details about the cooperation amongst the geese - the lead goose reduces the wind resistance, and they take turns being the lead goose. Thank you again, and my best wishes to everybody involved, including the Amur falcons.

from:  Roy M. Ramavarapu
Posted on: Nov 15, 2013 at 06:00 IST
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