World Migratory Bird Day observed in Pakistan
This year the theme of World Migratory Bird Day is “Birds Connect Our World”. It was chosen to highlight the importance of conserving and restoring the ecological connectivity that support the natural cycles essential for the survival and well-being of migratory birds.
According to World Migratory Bird Day website, the theme also underlines the fact that migratory birds are part of our shared natural heritage and they depend on a network of sites along their migration routes for breeding, feeding, resting and overwintering.
Pakistan lies at a crossroads for bird migration due to its deliberate geographical location while Indus basin is one of the world’s great migratory flyways and is the principal route followed by many bird species that breed in winter in Pakistan or in other regions of the Indian subcontinent.
According to Forever Indus website, a wide variety of ducks and waders, raptors, and passerines such as warblers, pipits and buntings crossed the migratory route annually. Some species including Common and Demoiselle cranes, snipe and pelican enter via the Kurram District of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province in Pakistan.
The bird’s migration from Siberia to Pakistan along the Indus River down to the delta is known as International Migratory Bird Route Number 4, a route covers 4,500 km. Migratory birds avoiding extreme weather conditions in Siberia and Russia make some odd decisions and travel to moderate weather lands and make stopovers at different lakes in Pakistan.
According to Anadolu Agency, coronavirus shutdown proved a boon for migratory birds in Pakistan.
World-Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Pakistan-chapter Technical adviser Muhammad Moazzam Khan told the agency, “Thousands of migratory birds are not only hunted but also caged for sale during this period every year. The ongoing lockdown has helped them return to their homeland safely.”
While on their way back from March-April, while overflying and taking rest in Pakistan they become easy targets of hunters and bird traders.
While, Executive Secretary of the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) Jacques Trouvilliez said, “Nature is carrying on as usual, the cycles and rhythms of nature, including those of migratory birds, continue on their normal course.”
In comparison to past years, the global celebration of our avian friends and their fascinating annual migrations will look very different this year because of the unprecedented global health crisis the world is facing from COVID-19.