Mumbai: Bird-ringing exercise identifies Akshi Beach as crucial habitat for migratory waterbirds

Of 105 migratory water-birds that had been ‘ringed’ or tagged as a part of a Bombay Pure Historical past Society (BNHS) research at Akshi Seaside in September 2019, 31 specimens had been resighted on the identical location throughout subsequent months, between October and December 2019. Not less than two birds that had been beforehand tagged in Mumbai, had been additionally recorded at Akshi through the research interval.

Specialists stated this means that the Akshi seashore, together with Alibag seashore within the north and Nagaon seashore within the south, is a vital wintering floor for migratory birds, together with not less than two species which can be globally threatened. The world, BNHS’s report factors out, additionally requires safety from vital anthropogenic stressors, together with air pollution, tourism and free-ranging canines, which can pose a menace to its wealthy avifauna.

Hindustan Occasions had reported, on March 6, {that a} BHNS and Mangrove Cell research has recorded over 70 species of waterfowl throughout 99 monitoring websites throughout the Maharashtra coast. Nonetheless, bird-banding workouts had been carried out solely at Akshi, which is about 50kms aerial distance from Mumbai.

“We picked Akshi seashore for this train as a result of it’s the solely wetland outdoors of Mumbai that harbours such giant congregations of migratory birds. We needed to gauge the interconnectivity of those wetlands by seeing if birds visiting Akshi had been additionally visiting Mumbai and vice versa,” stated Tuhina Katti, a analysis scientist who labored on the research.

Chook ringing, often known as banding, is a well-established wildlife surveillance software by which particular person specimens are tagged with a small plastic or steel ring, make it simpler for researchers to individually determine them. The tactic has lengthy been utilized by scientists to know the motion patterns and life cycles of birds.

In September 2019, a complete of 105 people belonging to fifteen fowl species, together with 65 Lesser Sandplover, 10 Kentish Plover, 7 Ruddy Turnstone and 6 Terek Sandpiper had been ringed at Akshi. “One particular person every of near-threatened Bar-tailed Godwit and Eurasian Oystercatcher had been additionally ringed,” the research notes.

Of those 105 birds, 31 birds had been resighted a number of instances within the space, indicating that they’ve a excessive constancy towards the native ecosystem. The time elapsed between resightings ranged from as little as 13 days to as many as 84 days, indicating strongly that birds weren’t simply staging (or resting) at Akshi, however that they’d established themselves there for the winter season. The black-tailed godwit, certainly one of two threatened species that had been tagged, was seen within the space after almost two months.

Conversely, the birds weren’t noticed to be shifting between Akshi and Mumbai. Solely a single Kentish Plover, “ringed in Akshi on September 24, 2019, recorded at Merces Seaside in Vasai on October 17, 2019,” the report notes. Nonetheless, two birds who had been tagged in Mumbai throughout earlier research had been resighted at Akshi between October and December 2019.

“This tells us that the birds visiting Akshi are extremely a fan of that ecosystem. To reply why requires extra research over an extended interval,” stated Katti, including that the BNHS has proposed to conduct related workouts at different wetlands in Maharashtra. “Permission for a similar couldn’t be obtained because of the fowl flu outbreak final yr however we hope to begin quickly,” she added.

Virender Tiwari, further PCCF (mangrove cell), stated that the findings of the Akshi seashore research are encouraging sufficient to fee extra complete bird-ringing research in different areas as nicely. Tiwari reiterated his remark to Hindustan Occasions on March 5, saying, “The wildlife division has tabled a proposal with the state to observe not simply coastal wetlands, however all wetlands within the state. The finances for this second research is 2.77 crore. We’re awaiting in-principle approval.”

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