Vijayapura: After a delay of over two months, the migratory birds have arrived in flocks to the backwaters of Almatti Dam as part of their annual routine.
As the birds have arrived at a time when Bird Flu cases are reported across different parts of the country, the forest officials have been put under additional responsibility to keep track of the birds and mainly know whether any of the birds have died in a suspicious manner near the nesting areas.
They fly over a distance of 5,000 km every year to reach the backwater of Almatti Dam during the migration season between October and February. The last two years have seen a late arrival of the birds due to flood water which drown the islands, leaving no space for the birds to nest and breed. As the water levels starts to recede in Ghataprabha and Krishna Rivers, the birds start nesting and breeding.
As of now, no symptoms of the avian flu have been detected among the migratory and the forest officials and bird watchers are keeping a close eye on them.
“There is no threat to the migratory birds of infection of H5NI bird-flu virus until and unless they come in contact with the local birds. We are closely watching the migratory birds. It is difficult to take precautions as birds are shy in nature and they will be beyond reach. Even providing individual and community treatment for the winged visitors is impossible,” said P. K. Pia, Deputy Conservator of Forest at Krishna Jala Bhagya Nigam Limited (KBJNL)
Over 200 different species of migratory birds visit the hotspot every year. Approximately 20 species have arrived so far and they were identified as River Tern, Spoonbill, Flamingo, Pintail duck, Bar-headed Geese, Asian Openbill, Black-winged Stilt, Red Wattled Lapwing and other birds. These birds are seen largely in Chikkasangam, Herkal and Mallapur village near Bagalkot.
“The virus will be in its body and there will be interlink within themselves. We should be alert. The forest officials and bird watchers are closely monitoring the migratory birds this year because of bird-flu. However, there is a very slim chance of infection of the virus as nowhere in the region has reported the H5NI bird-flu virus,” stated Samad Bellary, wildlife warden.