'Bangladesh saw 100,000 more migratory birds in 2019'

Iftekhar Mahmud . Dhaka | Update:

Migratory birds in a beel of Tanguar Haor on 20 January, 2019. Photo: ABM Sarwar AlamBangladesh has hosted around 100,000 more migratory birds in 2019 as their temporary home, compared to last year's count, according to a census. 

In the census conducted by Bangladesh unit of International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Bangladesh Bird Club and Bangladesh Forest Department, some 246,665 birds of different species were counted this year in five regions. The figure was 147,130 in 2018.

Among the five regions, Tanguar Haor had the highest concentration of migratory birds. Of all the migrated birds, about 90 per cent flocked to 120 different beels of Tanguar Haor in Sunamganj.

It was earlier thought that birds migrate to Bangladesh in December and go back to their home in February. But this year's census showed that the birds can stay in Bangladesh even after winter if they get plenty of food.

The census reported that various species of migratory birds stayed till the end of April this year in many beels of Tanguar Haor.

ABM Sarwar Alam, IUCN's principal researcher of wild bird observation project, told Prothom Alo that Tanguar Haor is now the best place in Bangladesh for the migratory birds.

"The water depth of the beels is low this year due to less rainfall, making better availability of food for the birds including plankton and other floating insects. The birds stayed there even after winter as their food was available," he said.

Besides Tanguar Haor, the number of migratory birds increased this year in coastal areas and Sonadia island in Cox's Bazar but dropped in Baikkar Beel and Hakaluki Haor.

Renowned ornithologist Enam Ul Haque, also founder of Bangladesh Bird Club, told Prothom Alo if any place sees migrator

y birds more in number it means the place still has a good ecological balance.

In the 2019 census, it has also been recorded that birds flocked to Bangladesh from Tajikistan, Mongolia and China. It was earlier thought that they usually migrate from the north including Siberia.

Forest conservator of Bangladesh Forest Department, Zahidul Kabir, told Prothom Alo that they would take measures so that the government declares the haors of Sylhet regions sanctuary for migratory birds.

*This report, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Imam Hossain

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