Flocks of migratory birds came to winter in northern Iran

September 18, 2019

TEHRAN – The first group of migratory birds landed in northern Mazandaran province to spend the winter, director for the provincial department of environment (DOE) has said.

Eurasian teal, herons and sandpipers are birds which have started their migration to warmer areas of the country as temperatures drastically dropped in their main habitats, Kooros Rabi’ei told IRNA on Wednesday.

These migratory birds inhabiting in western parts of the country come to northern areas every year before autumn (starting on September 23), Rabi’ei added.
Although these are the first group of winter-spending birds which fly their ways to northern provinces, this year started their migration two weeks earlier due to good condition of wetlands and food availability, he highlighted.

Flocks of migratory birds from Siberia, Russia also take flight to spend the cold season in Iran which will enter the country by Late-October, said Rabi’ei.
He went on to note that with increased rainfall averages, accordingly, bird migration reaches its peak, and it is expected that the number of aquatic birds wintering in the country grow substantially this year.

Mazandaran province hosting a population of 699,130 migratory birds consisting of 150 species; is the first province with the highest sufficient resources, as movement of migratory birds is closely linked to seasonal availability of resources.

Majid Kharrazian-Moqaddam, head of aquatic animals and wildlife affairs at the DOE said in December 2018 that in Iranian calendar year 1396 (March 2017- March 2018), some 914,914 migratory birds of 161 species have been located in 483 sites across the country, which demonstrates a 26.5 percent rise compared to the same period a year earlier (March 2016- March 2017).

“Among the various groups of migratory birds wintering in Iran, the largest population belongs to the group of geese, swans and ducks amounting to 781,499 and the smallest population of 7 are the long-tailed ducks or oldsquaw.

Migratory birds on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List have also headed to the country last year with an enhancing population of 17.4 percent compared to past two years, the highest number of which was common pochard and the two species of Siberian crane and red-breasted goose had the lowest proportion,” Kharrazian-Moqaddam explained.

What pushes migratory birds toward disappearance? 

Bird migration is the regular seasonal movement, often north and south along a flyway, between breeding and wintering grounds. Many species of bird migrate. Migration carries high costs in predation and mortality, including from hunting by humans, and is driven primarily by availability of food.

Unsustainable development in Iran has resulted in habitat fragmentation posing a serious threat to the migratory birds; also anthropogenic disturbance such as agricultural expansion has resulted in dramatic global habitat loss and fragmentation.

Moreover, poaching, overgrazing, and long-standing drought spells have also impacted habitat destruction which ultimately results in birds’ total extinction.
Dalmatian pelican, Siberian crane, lesser white-fronted goose, and white-headed duck are among the endangered migratory birds which migrate to Iran.

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