Bhopal, the state capital of Madhya Pradesh in heart of India, offers a unique wetland to migratory birds. World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) is a global initiative devoted to celebrating the beauty of migrating birds and for promoting their conservation worldwide. This year it falls on May 12 & 13.
Its central theme this year is "Migratory birds in a changing climate." Climate change has severe consequences for the nomads of the skies: it causes the loss of essential bird habitats, changes migration patterns and increases the competition for food between migrating birds and residents. The goal of this day in year 2007 is to try to focus world’s attention on the plight of migratory birds and to highlight the way they are being affected by climate change in the same way as all living things. The days call on support of bird enthusiasts around the world to take action.
Many activities are organized that are linked to birds and encourage bird conservation, increase awareness through bird watching excursions in Bhopal, which witnesses thousands of migratory birds normally during the months of October to March every year, including Bar headed geese, which arrive by October and depart by March. It is crepuscular and nocturnal and is seen in large groups as it flies in V formation or straight ribbons over lakes of Bhopal. Similarly, Brahminy Shelduc,k locally known as Surkhab, is a winter visitor from Nepal, Tibet and Ladakh to Bhopal. It is seen on mudspits and sandbanks, near lakes normally in pairs. Also seen are Fulica atra Linnaeus, commonly known as Common Cootk, whcih are seen across India in winters over lakes, large wetlands and marshes.
Bhopal’s wetland is unique wetlands to migratory birds which travel north to south of equator and back during their regular habitat. An environmental non governmental organization Crusade for Revival of Environment and Wild Life (CREW) who is passionately pursuing on the issue is creating the space for young ones to get oriented on birds. It supports bird watching camps and shares all the information which one needs on the issue.
Lalit Shastri and Rajshri Shastri from Bhopal who have made a film, "Water birds of Bhopal." with support from State Education Mission, are resource experts on the issue. Lalit says that though birds will continue to visit Bhopal but we need to be vigilant and alert so that our wetlands encourage them to come to the city of Bhopal which is part of their regular habitat when they travel north to south. If we wish to see birds like Common pochard (commonly know as lal seer) which come from in winters from Siberia and cross over Bhopal, probably this day pushes to brings attention of all of environmentalist, bird lovers and people who care on plight of world migratory birds.