A parched winter with little rainfall has kept water migratory birds away from the Najafgarh lake, situated in the south-western part of Delhi. There has been a decline in the number of species that are seen near the lake every winter.
According to the Asian Waterbird Census (AWC), conducted by ecologist TK Roy and his team, the number of species was recorded as 33 in comparison to 38, the number registered last year.
“This year, we recorded a lesser number and found a total of 33 water bird species with a total population of 1,317. Of these, 13 species were of resident water birds, including local migratory ones, and 20 species were of winter migratory water birds, including four species of red-listed threatened birds,” Roy said.
The figures were better last year because a good monsoon meant that the habitat at the lake had been revived. But owing to dry winters, the wetland is gradually drying up, leading to a reduction in the number of birds there.
As per the census, a reduced diversity of water birds, with hardly any record of swimming ducks at all apart from two geese species, has been observed, with mainly wader species in comparison to previous AWC results.
Roy attributed this to the global climate change, which impacts the migratory trend of birds, apart from leading to shrinking wetlands.
The census showed a decrease in the number of bar-headed geese and vanishing of the black-tailed godwit. While 221 of these geese were recorded last year, only 140 of them have been observed this year.
Apart from the black-tailed godwit, no common teals were found either this year.