Myriads of migratory birds flying over Gilan province

October 11, 2021 - 17:59

TEHRAN – With the onset of the cold season, wetlands in the northern province of Gilan are hosting thousands of migratory birds, Saeed Shahand, head of the provincial department of environment, has said.

One of the main destinations of migratory birds to distant lands is wetlands. Wetlands are ecosystems saturated with water, either seasonally or permanently.

Due to the climate characteristics of Gilan province, wetlands such as Anzali, Amirkalayeh, Bojagh, and Steel Astara wetlands are home to 200,000 to 250,000 migratory birds from the northern hemisphere in winter and summer every year.

“It is predicted that due to recent rains and rising water level of Anzali Wetland, we will host more migratory birds this year,” Sasan Akbaripour, provincial DOE chief stated.

Hosting over 600 species of birds, Iran is a climatically rich country. The garganey started migrating to Gilan wetlands as the vanguard of the migration period in early September, and now other species enter the province in groups of 5,000 to 10,000.

He said that favorable weather conditions, an abundance of required food, and security are the reasons for the landing of thousands of migratory birds, including ducks, swans, geese, and terns, and other birds of 81 different species in the reservoirs of Gilan.

Some 21 environmental protection checkpoints in Gilan are fully prepared to prevent illegal hunting and trapping of migratory birds and to deal seriously and legally with environmental crimes, he further highlighted.

The annual census for migratory birds in Iran begins in the middle of the Iranian calendar month of Dey (December 22-January 20) and ends in the middle of the month of Bahman (January 21-February 19), through which Iran hosts rare species of migratory birds heading from north to the southern countries due to reduced seasonal temperatures and food availability.

Iran’s bird species

Hosting over 600 species of birds, Iran is a climatically rich country, so it is said that the number of bird species in Iran is higher than in the whole of Europe. A wide range of wetlands is the reason behind migratory birds choosing Iran for an annual wintering habitat, as a large number of birds fly a thousand miles each year to benefit from this rich climate.

Every year, from early September to late February, Iran hosts rare species of migratory birds heading from north to the southern countries due to reduced seasonal temperatures and food availability.

It is estimated that there are about 50 billion birds in the world out of 9,000 species, many of which are migratory. Accordingly, about five to seven million birds migrate to Iran in different seasons. There are about 530 species of birds in Iran, 320 of which are migratory species, some of which are native species.

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 seven are the long-tailed ducks or oldsquaw.

The provinces of Mazandaran and Golestan are the first provinces with the highest number of migratory birds for having sufficient resources, as the movement of migratory birds is closely linked to the seasonal availability of resources.

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