Siberian crane wintering in Iran back home

March 8, 2022 - 17:5

TEHRAN - The last remaining western Siberian crane, called ‘Omid’ (meaning Hope in Persian), has returned to its main habitat after spending 131 days in Fereydunkenar wetland, northern Mazandaran province.

Omid is a male Siberian crane, notable for being the only remaining Siberian crane that keeps returning to Iran, after flying 6,000 km each year, since 2007.

Despite losing his couple Arezoo (meaning Wish in Persian) seven years ago, he comes back to winter in the wetland every year ever since, except for two years during the past 14 years. Locals are very much fond of him and call him Omid as it brings hope with him.

Omid's annual trip to Mazandaran is very important for environmental and wildlife lovers, considering that it is the last survivor of the western Siberian cranes. This year, he arrived a week earlier.

According to the International Crane Foundation website, this critically endangered species is now only found in one main population in East Asia, with a few birds remaining in the historic Western/Central population.

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.

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.

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.

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), which will be a 1-month period from January 1 to 31.

According to the wintering census last year, 90 species of migratory birds with a population of over 500,000 migrated to the three wetlands of Miankaleh, Sorkhrud, and Azbaran, reservoirs and protected areas of the province, which is predicted to reach up to 700,000 this [Iranian calendar] year.


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