Environmentalists and officials have expressed their desire to study whether the Amur Falcon (Falcon amurensis) has shifted their stopover sites to new places considering the global climate change and human activities.
Amur Falcon, one of the long distance migratory birds in the world– covering 22,000 kms in its no-stop flight used to arrive in thousands along the Barak river belts in Manipur’s Tamenglong district, during mid October-November every year.
This small raptor of the falcon family, primarily recorded from Northeast India, travels from eastern Asia all the way to southern Africa and back every year.
During their stay in Manipur Tamenglong in particular, this one of the least talked raptor species out of 69 in known in India, controls the insects and pests in the agricultural fields during harvest seasons by eating up the termites and grasshoppers etc.
A Forest official believes that the birds might have shifted to new stopover sites in the region due to changing climatic conditions. But he said they cannot confirm it officially unless there is a proper study.
He however agreed that the birds were seen in big numbers in the Barak river belt in Tamenglong district in 2015, but it has declined in the following years .“May be the birds might have shifted to stopover sites.” he said. “We need mass awareness besides conducting proper study and satellite tracking of the bird’s migratory routes.”
Sharing a similar sentiment, Mordecai Panmei, a member of Rain Forest Club, a Tamenglong based organization which had been taking up awareness programs in association with Forest Department since the last three years, said they had spotted a flocks of Amur falcons at Khumzi area, a new stop-over site under Noney district this year.
Mordecai who is presently doing scientific documentation of the Dailong(village) biodiversity heritage site in Tamenglong district for the Corbett Foundation, a well known NGO for wildlife conservation in the country, also admitted the changing climatic pattern and ongoing human activities could be one of the factors that has caused the sensitive birds to shift their resting sites.
Tamenglong and Noney areas in Manipur where human activities are on for the railway projects since last few years, has seen a changing pattern in the rain this year, according to villagers.