Shimla : According to the latest count there are 108,578 birds of 96 species at the Pong wetland in Himachal Pradesh, a spokesman of the state government said here today.
Out of the total number, water dependent migratory birds are 101,431 of 51 species and water dependent resident birds are 6,433 of 29 species.714 birds of 16 other species were also recorded.
The total population of the flagship species, Bar-Headed Geese, is 40,570.
The other species which have higher population count this year are Eurasian Coot (24,163), Northern Pintail (12,702), Common Teal (8,444), Little Cormorant (3,649), Great Cormorant (3,410), Grey Lag Goose (2,297), Northern Shoveler (2,275) and Common Pochard (2,138).
The species which find noticeable mention are Red Necked Grebe, Great Bittern, Lesser White-Fronted Goose, Red Crested Pochard, Ferruginous Pochard, Pied Avocet, Northern Lapwing, Peregrine Falcon etc. During the counting exercise one Bar-headed Goose and one Grey Lag Goose with collars was also spotted.
The annual water bird count at Pong Dam Lake Wildlife Sanctuary was conducted in the first of February, 2021 and the exercise was conducted under restrained conditions due to the prevailing Avian Influenza outbreak in Pong Dam Lake as well as the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The exercise was conducted by Wildlife wing of Himachal Pradesh by deploying 57 staff members in 26 sections of the sanctuary for counting the water dependent birds.
The spokesman clarified that the total population of birds as well as number of species counted this year are marginally less as compared to last year, probably due to the impact of Avian Influenza outbreak which was first reported on 28th December 2020.