Bharatpur, Oct 12 (IANS) Several resident and migratory birds have started to flock to the Bharatpur bird sanctuary in Rajasthan, much to the joy of greens and bird watchers.
Experts said a huge turnout is expected this winter in the sanctuary, also known as the Keoladeo National Park or Ghana sanctuary, thanks to the water now coming from the Yamuna.
"We had received an average rainfall this year too. But what is going to bring about the big change is the fresh water supply. The supply began last week and one can see the difference. The birds have started to arrive before their scheduled time," said a forest department officer.
The bird sanctuary is home to over 300 species of birds including openbills, spoonbills, egrets, cormorants, white ibis, harriers, fishing eagles, kingfishers and local and Siberian cranes till 2003.
However, the numbers started dwindling due to acute shortage of water. The sanctuary attracted only 50-60 species in recent years.
"Many domestic and migratory birds had been leaving the park in search of new wetlands. Now we will see migratory birds flocking in again," the officer said.
"Spoonbills, cormorants, storks, Indian darters, egrets and cranes have already arrived," he said.
"We have most of the monsoon breeding birds at present, and expect a huge turnout of migratory birds during winter," said the officer.
Surplus water from the Yamuna river that flows into the Goverdhan drain has been brought to the sanctuary through a 17.4-km pipeline. The project has cost around Rs.5.5 billion.
The project was expected to be operational in 2009.
The sanctuary is spread over an area of 28.72 sq km with lakes and wetland. It was created by the Maharaja of Bharatpur in the 19th century.
The area was designated as Keoladeo Ghana Sanctuary in 1965 and was upgraded into the Keoladeo National Park in 1981.