Nov 19, 2023: Winter has brought the arrival of migratory birds to Nepal, seeking refuge in the rivers and wetlands. These feathered visitors typically start their journey to Nepal in November. Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve, situated at the confluence of Sunsari, Saptari, and Udayapur districts, is a hotspot attracting these migratory birds.
Birendra Gautam, Chief of the National Trust for Nature Conservation, Koshi Conservation Center, notes that while new bird species discover Koshitappu each year, there has been a decline in the number of birds flocking compared to previous years. Last winter, statistics indicate that 7,573 birds of 53 species sought shelter in Nepal.
Nepal has become an appealing destination for migratory birds, providing a haven to escape the harsh winter conditions and for breeding purposes. Kurman Mansoori, the owner of the Bird Watching Camp at Koshi Tappu, points out that out of the 888 bird species in Nepal, 531 can be found in Koshi Tappu alone.
Migratory birds can be spotted in Barju Lake and Betna Wetlands in Morang district, with species traveling from different parts of Nepal, South India, and Siberia. Ramchandra Adhikari, an environmental journalist and associate professor, reveals that Betna Wetlands host around 400 birds belonging to 30 families and 49 species. Seventy percent are local birds, 18 percent are winter migratory birds, and 12 percent migrate during the summer.
Adhikari explains that most migratory birds at Koshi Tappu stay from November to February, aligning with the snowfall in the northern hemisphere. Annually, around 150 bird species journey to Nepal from various regions, including Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, China, Mongolia, Europe, Korea, and Tibet. Additionally, approximately 50 migratory bird species pass through Nepal on their way to India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.
The wetlands of Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve, Chitwan National Park, Bisahajari Lake, Jagdishpur Lake, Ghodaghodi Lake, Shuklaphanta Wildlife Reserve, and rivers such as Koshi, Gandaki, Narayani, and their tributaries are winter homes for these migratory birds, especially of the duck species.