A bird census conducted in the seven biodiversity parks in Delhi last month counted 159 species of birds. This is the first census of this type carried out systematically jointly in all the city’s biodiversity parks.
A total of 23,907 birds were counted. The highest number of species, 99, has been recorded in Delhi’s oldest biodiversity park – Yamuna Biodiversity Park near Wazirabad, which was established in 2002 and has both forest and wetland ecosystems .
This was followed by the Aravalli Biodiversity Park near Vasant Kunj where 92 species of birds have been recorded. Kalindi Biodiversity Park recorded 73 species, while 69 species were counted at Tughlaqabad Biodiversity Park. A smaller number of species were counted in Kamala Nehru Biodiversity Park (66 species), Tilpath Valley Biodiversity Park (59 species) and Neela Hauz Biodiversity Park (36 species).
The census, conducted Feb. 23-26, recorded species like the brown shrike, eastern orpheus warbler and steppe eagle, said Aisha Sultana, wildlife ecologist with the Center’s Biodiversity Parks Program. for Environmental Management of Degraded Ecosystems from the University of Delhi. The highest numbers were Jungle Babblers, Parakeets, Bulbuls and Cormorants.
The census made it possible to compare different types of habitats – forests, wetlands, grasslands and shrubs, which have been recreated in these biodiversity parks, she said. How the birds occupy these habitats and whether they are in the upper, middle or lower canopy were also observed.
A total of 94 resident species, 57 migratory species and five summer migrant species have been recorded. The Purple Sunbird was found to be the only bird that feeds on flower nectar.
The species counted are a very good number, said Ms Shah Hussain, lead scientist of the Aravalli Biodiversity Park, where efforts have been made to restore the natural ecosystem of the Aravallis in former mining pits. The parks are “restored” habitats for birds, and the census indicates that they have provided birds with nesting and breeding space, he said.
Faiyaz Khudsar, the scientist in charge of the biodiversity parks program, said data is also collected on mammals and butterflies in these parks, which can help map changes in a few years. Ground-nesting birds could decline due to unseasonal rainfall and Yamuna flooding which may impact ground vegetation, he pointed out.
“When we have data for a few years, we can see what kind of species are affected by climate change,” he added.
The biodiversity parks span the natural landscapes of the Yamuna River and the Aravalli ranges of hills.