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Migratory birds set to return


ISLAMABAD: The migratory birds from Siberia are all set to return to their native abode, as mercury levels around the world started improving after unprecedented harsh winter spell due to various climatic conditions.
The birds from North also spend winters in different wetlands and deserts of Pakistan, which are distributed almost throughout the country, from the high Himalayas to coastal mangroves and mud flats in the Indus delta. And, after winters they go back to their native habitats.
More than 700,000 guest birds reach Pakistan through Indus Flyway, from Europe, Central Asian states and India, Director Pakistan Museum of Natural History (PMNH) Dr Muhammad Rafique told APP, here today.
Migration journey starts from Siberia to Pakistan and ends in India at Bahartpure. This route is known in the international migration routes as ‘Indus Fly-way No. 4’ or ‘Green Route’, he added.
The distance covered by birds during migration is around 4500 kilometers. The migratory bird fly from Siberia to Afghanistan, Karakorum range, across river Indus in Pakistan and finally towards India.
During their journey, the birds make stopovers at lakes and water basins at Nowshera, Tanda Dam in Kohat, Swat, Chitral, Punjab and at Haleji, Keenjaar and Lungsee lakes in Sind.
Dr Rafique said these birds mainly consist of water fowl, hobara bustard, cranes, teals,pintail, mallard, geeze, spoon bills, waders, palicons and gadwall.
“Pakistan’s wetlands are no exception to hosting enormous biodiversity of migratory birds and some indigenous fauna. Each year, hundred of thousands of birds including cranes, geese, ducks, swans and waders migrate between their breeding grounds in the north and wintering grounds in the south”.
He said these birds include some of the magnificent species such as demoiselle cranes and Eurasian cranes.
Among them, central population of Siberian crane migrated until its extinction in 2002. Its western population, migrating between Iran and Russia, is at the brink of extinction, Director said, adding while its eastern population migrating between China and Russia is threatened with alterations in its habitat that might be massive due to planned dams.
The Wildlife department, he said has taken a number of measures to contain hunting of migratory birds and in this regard work was done on organizing communities along river Kabul and Indus.
“Earlier, before 1970 there was no rule for protection of migratory birds. However, after Ramsar convention in Iran and Bonn Convention in Germany, laws to protect migratory birds were enacted”.
Birds whose reproduction is fast like ducks and water fowls are coming in same number. However, sometimes due to change in weather and especially due to drought, the birds change their route,he added.
About reasons behind migration, he said cold weather compel the birds to move towards warmer areas,adding these birds have inherited a natural phenomenon of moving from one place to another for reproduction purpose. 

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