Early winter surprise at Okhla Bird Sanctuary

Small flocks of migratory birds have started arriving at the sanctuary much earlier this year

October 20, 2014 10:23 am | Updated May 23, 2016 04:10 pm IST - NEW DELHI

A pair of Eurasian wigeons at the Okhla Bird Sanctuary. File photo: S. Subramanium

A pair of Eurasian wigeons at the Okhla Bird Sanctuary. File photo: S. Subramanium

The Okhla Bird Sanctuary, which has been in the news since the beginning of the year due to a plea for restricting construction activity in the surrounding areas, has started receiving winter migratory ducks much earlier than anticipated.

According to environmentalist and ecologist T.K. Roy, who has been monitoring the movement of migratory birds across the country, smaller flocks of winter migratory birds have arrived at the bird sanctuary this year.

Most of them have descended right at the middle of the wetland habitat, where disturbance from the surroundings is minimal.

Dr. Roy said the birds that have already arrived include the northern shoveler, common pochard, tufted duck, Eurasian wigeon, common teal and Gadwall.

Northern shoveler: This migratory duck breeds in northern Europe and North Asia. During winter, it migrates to southern Europe, Africa, North America and South Asia, including India. A flock of 40 such birds has arrived at the Okhla sanctuary.

Common pochard: This diving duck breeds in northern Europe and North Asia. It migrates to southern and western Europe and the north part of Southeast and East Asia and South Asia during winter.

Tufted duck: This migratory diving duck breeds in North Europe and Asia, and migrates to South and West Europe, and Southeast and South Asia, including India, in winter. A small mixed flock of 20 common pochard and tufted ducks has descended upon the sanctuary.

Eurasian wigeon: This widespread common dabbling duck breeds in northern Europe and Asia, and migrates in winter to northern, South, Southeast and South Asia. A small flock of 20 Eurasian wigeon have set foot at Okhla.

Common teal: This common winter migratory duck breeds in northern Europe and North Asia, and migrates in winter to southern Europe, and Southeast and South Asia. About 40 common teals have already made Okhla sanctuary their winter home.

Gadwall: It is common duck that breeds in northern Europe, central north America and north Asia, and migrates in winter to central America, northern east, southeast and south Asia. About 20 birds of this species have arrived at the sanctuary.

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