Northern migratory birds have arrived in Kathmandu Valley and the wetlands in the southern plains to spend the entire winter season in Nepal.
According to bird specialists, 90 per cent of migratory birds, including green sandpiper and common greenshank, among other species, have already arrived in Nepal so far. With the arrival of these birds, Nepal is now expecting nearly 150 regular migratory birds from outside its geographical border.
Ornithologist and Nepal’s Country Director of Zoological Society of London Dr Hem Sagar Baral informed that winter birds had arrived in jungles and wetland areas across Kathmandu Valley and the Tarai region.
“This is the transitional phase in which around 90 per cent of winter migratory birds have already arrived in Nepal from the northern hemisphere whereas around 90 per cent of summer birds have left the country,” Baral told The Himalayan Times. “The remaining 10 per cent of migratory birds will arrive in Nepal to escape from the freezing cold in the northern hemisphere.”
Baral said mid-September to mid-October is the peak migration time of birds. Most of winter migratory birds come to Nepal from China, Mongolia, Korea, Siberian region of Russia and central Asia.
During this autumn migration, some special birds pass through Nepal. One of these is the highest flying migratory bird — the bar-headed goose — which is known to cross the mighty Himalayas on its journey to and from its summer and winter quarters.
“A flock of these birds was once observed flying at the height of 9,375 meters above Mount Everest,” said Baral, adding, “These are quite large birds and weigh up to 2.5 kg.” Bird specialists say, it’s a very interesting and exciting time to watch and enjoy these magnificent guests traveling through Nepal.
Similarly, when summer starts in Nepal, summer migratory birds from the south enter the country as is their custom for breeding and other species of birds that migrate from north return to their summer habitats. Many of these migratory birds come from Sub-Saharan Africa, a journey of more than 5,000 km to Nepal. Others come from South-east Asia, North-east India, and South India.
Experts say these birds migrate to Nepal in search of food and to escape competitions for survival. These birds need easily accessible food, good weather, and less competition during breeding season.
Unlike other sub-tropical countries, Nepal has longer days in summer, giving the birds up to 14 hours a day to forage for food, a luxury they don’t have in their native countries. Of the birds that migrate to Nepal, the bulk are various species of cuckoos, such as pied cuckoos, Eurasian cuckoos, and oriental cuckoos. Other species include chestnut-headed bee-eater and Asian paradise flycatchers.