Enchanting feathers of the valley
The state of Uttarakhand is one of the richest in India in bio-diversity. The state capital, Dehradun district comes under the Shivalik hills at the base of the Himalayas and for the most part, is covered by forest (except the city area). Some areas of Jim Corbett National Park (a habitat shared by tigers, leopards, elephants, black bears, brown bears, chitals and various bird species) also fall within Dehradun district, which is. In Dun valley, various researchers have reported sighting a large number of species. In 1935, B. B. Osmaston was first to publish a systematic record of avian of Dehradun and adjacent hills. According to him about 400 species were recorded in the area but the study was not area specific, therefore there was controversy in regards to some species such as Snow Partridge (Lerwa lerwa), Himalayan Snowcock (Tetraogallus himalayensis), White-throated Dipper (Cinclus cinclus) and Grandala (Grandala Coelicolor) because these species were not from Dehradun district. Thereafter various ornithologist and birding enthusiasts have done studies in the area and finally, a total of 224 species were recorded. In the year 2000, A. P. Singh, recorded 377 species, including 11 as globally near-threatened and 2 as vulnerable in the Dehradun valley and neighboring hills. In 2016, Dhananjay Mohan recorded 327 species in Asan Conservation Reserve, a heaven for watching migratory birds as well as resident birds.
According to my experience, Dun Valley provides good shelters, the abundance of food, fewer predators, good breeding conditions, less air pollution, comparatively fewer traffic distractions. Dun valley is primarily forest area, filled with shrubs and waterfalls all around. The temperature in the summer touches around 42ºC and in the winter it comes down to 10ºC, which makes the valley atmosphere pleasant for the birds. There are various migratory birds, which come to Dun Valley in the summer and in the colder months, they return to their native places. Birds such as Himalayan Rubythroat are seen in Dun Valley in the winter and in Mussoorie in the summer. Few common species observed here, in the valley, are Common Myna, Bank Myna, House crow, Oriental Pied-hornbill, Spotted dove, Black drongo, Black-rumped flame back, to name a few. During the hotter months, a number of migratory birds, especially different kinds of parakeets can be seen in the valley, such as Yellow-breasted greenfinch, Rose-ringed parakeet, Alexandrine parakeet, Slaty-headed parakeet, Scarlet Minivet, Black Bulbul, etc. Woodpecker is also common species in the valley. During the field visits, it’s been observed that local people catch birds like Red jungle fowl, for selling and for savouring as a delicacy. House sparrows are commonly found around the humans but their numbers are sharply declining in both, urban and rural areas of the valley, for reasons such as a change in house patterns, increase in traffic, lack of food etc. It was also observed that in city region a number of omnivorous birds are present in huge numbers i.e. House crow, Jungle Crow, Common Myna, Bank Myna, etc.
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