Migratory birds under threat

22 Sep

by Dhaneshi Yatawara (22.09.2013 SundayObserver)

Most of the wetlands in the country where many migratory water birds gather are under increasing pressure due to human activities such as land filling, said environmentalists.

The Field Ornithology Group of Sri Lanka citing an example said that flamingoes found in large numbers at the Bundala wetland have become scarce in the recent past. This could be due to the decreasing number of small crustaceans on which flamingoes feed.

“The change of salinity of the lagoon due to the inflow of freshwater from irrigated lands had killed small crustaceans.

Hence the birds move away looking for new feeding areas,” a spokesperson for the Field Ornithology Group of Sri Lanka (FOGSL) said. These migratory birds comprise around 36 percent of the total number of bird species in Sri Lanka.

This is the time when birds start migrating to Sri Lanka. 

The worldwide habitat destruction is affecting the regular migratory routes including resting and feeding sites, threatening their survival. Sri Lanka has become the destination for many migrant birds, who fly in the Central Asian Flyway covering a large area from the Arctic to the Indian Ocean. Some common migratory birds include Blue-tailed Bee-eater, Brown Flycatcher, Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Forest Wagtail and Indian Pitta.

The FOGSL has launched a program ‘Migrant Watch’ to promote observation and conservation.

This is also a citizen science project where the public can help gather data. The ‘Migrant Watch’ will be launched on September 29 to watch birds at the Talangama Tank in Battaramulla at 7 am. A lecture on ‘Waders and other migrant birds” will also be held on September 28 at 9.30 am at the Department of Zoology, University of Colombo. It is open to the public free.



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