Nov 26, 2023: Chitwan National Park and its neighboring areas are currently abuzz with the arrival of migratory birds from both domestic and foreign lands. The annual migration, undertaken by species such as ducks, hawks, and kites, is a natural response to the impending cold weather. Tikaram Giri, the President of the Bird Education Society Chitwan, has reported sightings of these birds along riverbanks and water bodies in the region. He notes that a variety of ducks, numbering 12 to 15 species from foreign countries, have been observed in the Narayani and Rapti rivers, as well as Riukhola.
The influx of migratory birds began in August, with many already present, and more expected to arrive by the end of October. Giri explains that even birds from the hilly areas of Nepal make their way to Chitwan to escape the cold temperatures.
Renowned ornithologist Hem Sagar Baral reveals that birds migrate to Nepal from countries such as Siberia, Malaysia, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, and China. Among the migratory birds are various species of ducks, including Chakhewa, Suiropuchhre, Malak, Khadakhade, Bijula, and Gairi. Baral emphasizes that these birds migrate southward from the northern regions to avoid the cold, a behavior observed in 100 out of the 150 species of visiting birds recorded this season.
Baral anticipates that these birds will return to the northern regions after six months, coinciding with the hatching season. He explains that migration is influenced by the shorter days and longer nights in the northern pole during winter, limiting the time available for birds to graze.
Particularly, birds residing in wetlands, grasslands, forests, and farmlands find refuge in Nepal during the winter months. Nepal boasts a rich avian diversity, with a total of 892 bird species across the country, including 650 species in Chitwan alone.
The rivers, wetlands, and surrounding areas, including the buffer zones, parks, and community forests, serve as favorable habitats for these migratory birds during their winter sojourn.