An urban forest and a bamboo grove created in a children’s park maintained by Lions Club at Rabindra Sarobar have become key habitats for birds, a year after its officials were show-caused by Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA) for felling two fullgrown trees that were perching spots for rare migratory birds.
Among several bird species that have begun frequenting the urban forest and the bamboo grove at Safari Park have been the Ferruginous flycatcher and Firethroat, sighted and recorded for the first time in a major Indian city.
This is an encouraging sign for the city. A city’s ability to attract fauna and sustain its flora says a lot about its quality of life.
Birders are delighted at the number of bird species that they have spotted and photographed this year. Between January 1and November 6, they have recorded 100 species. The special ones among them are the Eyebrowed thrush, Crow-billed drongo and Brown Hawk-Owl. Also spotted in the lake for the first time are the Barn owl, Indian cuckoo and Grey-headed lapwing.
Several species of Thrush (Scaly, Tickell’s, orange-headed, Blue-capped rock), Fly-catchers (Brown breasted, Indian paradise, Blue-throated blue, Asian brown, Dark sided, Ultramarine), Warbles (Dusky, Greenish, Large-billed leaf, Blythe’s reed, Yellow-browed) and raptors (Oriental honey buzzard, Shikra, Booted eagle) have also been sighted.
“We are delighted at how Lions Club authorities have responded to our request to preserve the bird habitat instead of destroying it,” said birder Sudip Ghosh. “With the thicket at the end of the park left undisturbed, migratory birds are staying longer in the secure environment this year.”
Ghosh was among 20-odd birders who approached Lions Club authorities, including Safari Park Trust past chairman Mohan Agarwal and Lions Club North Kolkata vice-president S S Rajput, days after a confrontation last August when two trees — sabul and sirish — were felled.
While Lions Club officials claimed the trees had been leaning and posed a threat to walkers, birders argued the trees were perching grounds for winter birds, and could have been propped up to their original positions.
Agarwal said, “Earlier, our predominant concern was for walkers. But after conversations with birders we realised Safari Park could play an important role. When walkers wondered why we were not clearing a wooded area, we told them birds need their space too. Now, some walkers too are interested in watching the birds,” he added.
Ornithologist Sumit Sen believes small steps like these can have a big impact on the habitat of migratory and resident birds. “Birds, particularly the migratory ones, come to a particular place out of choice. If they find a conducive habitat, other birds will also get attracted to the area,” he said.
Ghosh felts more such habitats were required in pockets of Rabindra Sarobar and the rest of the city to attract more birds. “A beautification drive at the Lake led to destruction of birds’ habitat and installation of lights have been detrimental. The sound pollution during Kali Puja and Chhath, as well as the water pollution during the latter, affects resident and migratory birds,” he said.
Source: Times of India