India witnesses surge in bird population amid lockdown

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AAKANKSHA KHAJURIA
New Delhi, April 28 (IANS)
Due to the reduction in air and noise pollution pursuant to the imposition of the nationwide lockdown to fight the Covid-19 outbreak, the population of birds and butterflies has surged significantly across the country.
“The lockdown has resulted in an increase in the population of birds in the country. Resident birds are breeding much more than before due to less human activity, no noise and air pollution,” wildlife biologist Faiyaz Khudsar said.
Clanking of machinery in factories, buzzing of car horns and whirring of vehicular engines have now been replaced by chirping of birds in the dawn and the dusk.
Khudsar, who is also the scientist in-charge at the Yamuna Biodiversity Park (YBP), said that due to the reduction in noise pollution, bird mating calls and songs are being understood by its mates clearly.
“Vocalisation is very important. When there is less noise pollution, it is very easy for birds to express themselves. Otherwise, there are many studies which suggest that due to noise pollution, birds sometimes fail to reach their mates,” Khudsar said.
He also said that at a place where there is less human population, aircraft are grounded and no vehicles ply on the road, birds tend to increase their flight or retain their historical geographical ranges. “Lockdown is a good time for birds,” he said, smiling.
Khudsar also alluded to the effect of air pollution on butterflies and said that heavy metals emitted from the vehicles and haze increases their mortality. “Due to reduction in sulphur dioxide toxicity, flocks of ePioneer’ butterflies are flying around and are breeding more than ever before,” he said.
Vikrant Tongad, environment conservationist and founder of Social Action for Forest and Environment (SAFE), expressed happiness over the increase in the population of birds and butterflies, but rued over the maintainability of the current situation post the lockdown period.
“The rosy situation we see today is part of our policies, but there is lack of implementation in the country. We should move towards green energy; people should be made aware and policies should be implemented,” Tongad suggested.

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