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Harbouring a large number of bird species in its diverse habitat, the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), celebrated the National Bird Day on the campus on Friday. National Bird Day, which has American origins, is celebrated annually on January 5 to raise awareness about the value of birds in the ecosystem.

Dr Tejdeep Kaur Kler, Principal Ornithologist-cum-Head, Department of Zoology, PAU, while sharing insights, informed that the campus has a large stretch of agricultural fields, agro-forestry area, vegetable farm, fruit orchards and agro-forestry area. “A total of 104 species of birds belonging to 16 orders and 52 families have been recorded. Out of these bird species, 74 are resident, 24 are resident migrant and six are migrant species,” she told. “Birds show wide range of feeding habits including insectivorous, granivorous, nectar feeding, frugivorous and carnivorous. Majority of the bird species have been observed in crop fields and also preferred more than one habitat types for their daily activities,” she said. Dr Kler explained that the common bird species that could be observed in the campus were Common Myna – Acridotheres tristis, House Crow – Corvus splendens, Blue Rock Pigeon – Columba livia, Eurasian Collared Dove – Streptopelia decaocto, Cattle Egret – Bubulcus ibis, Red-wattled Lapwing – Vanellus indicus, Asian Pied Starling- Sturnus contra, Black Drongo – Dicrurus macrocercus, Rose-Ringed Parakeet – Psittacula krameri, Indian Peafowl – Pavo cristatus, Shikra – Accipiter badius, Black Kite Milvus migraines, Indian Pond Heron Ardeola grayii, Brown-Headed Barbet- Megalaima zeylanica , Spotted- Owlet Athene brama, Redvented Bulbul – Pericrocotus cafér, Indian Roller – Coracias benghalensis, Black-Shouldered Kite – Elanus caeruleus, etc.” Some species like Common Starling – Sturnus vulgaris, Little Stint – Calidris minuta, Grey Wagtail – Motacilla cinerea, White Wagtail – Motacilla alba, Yellow Wagtail – Motacilla flava, and Black Redstart – Phoenicurus ochruros were found during specific time of the year depending on the season, she added. Few rare species like Chestnut-bellied Rock-thrush Monticola rufiventris and Spotted flycatcher Muscicapa striata have also been recorded, she disclosed.

Elaborating, Dr Kler said, “The use of recommended agricultural practices and judicious use of available resources help in maintaining the population of these bird species.” The high avian species diversity is due to mosaic of different kinds of habitats present, easy availability of food and shelter. The presence of these diverse birds’ species in University campus is a sign of healthy ecosystem, and appreciated by one and all equally, she said.

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