The exhausted ‘ringed’ Amur falcon caught by a young boy from Gali Rukmini gaon under Jonai area in Assam’s Dhemaji district and released by the forest officials last week turned out to be one of the ‘incredibly strong bird’ that survived a massive hailstorm in South Africa in March early this year.
Jonai is a sub-division located on the northern bank of Brahmaputra River in Assam.
This was conveyed by scientist R Suresh Kumar of Wildlife Institute of India (WII) who has been studying the migratory route of the Amur falcon (Falcon amurensis) along with the local communities in their stop over sites for better conservation planning.
Northeast Now had earlier carried a report on May 22 last that Assam Forest officials of Jonai Forest Range under Dhemaji Forest Division rescued the Amur falcon wearing a metallic ring (scripted as ‘Inform Safring Univ Captown-SA D-92688’) on its left toe at Gali Reserve Forest and subsequently released the bird in nearby Poba reserve forest on May 20.
When this reporter shared the news, WII scientist Suresh Kumar contacted Rina Pretorius, a citizen scientist who had been particularly ringing Amur falcons for more than a decade at the roosting sites in South Africa.
According to Rina, around 700 Amur falcons had died when they were caught in a massive hailstorm at a roost site in Mooi River (South Africa) on March 9 last while 1000 others were rescued and taken to a wildlife rehabilitation centre (Howick Free Me Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre).
The scientist said, “D 92688 (the ringed bird) was one among the 1000 that was rescued and it was ringed on March 12 and released.”
The said falcon was ringed by Safring (South African Bird Ringing Unit) of University of Capetown.
Informing that the bird had made a 10000 km journey including five to six day non-stop flight across the Arabian Sea from her release site in South Africa to Jonai in Assam, he said, “D 92688 is definitely one incredibly strong bird and I am hoping that she joins our Longleng and survives to pass on her genes.”
Longleng is a female Amur falcon named after Nagaland’s district. She was radio-tagged in October 2016 in Nagaland as part of a joint conservation effort of local communities and Forest Department in association with WII scientists. Now Longleng has reached her breeding grounds in northern China (after staying for few days in India), covering a distance of 120,000 in the intervening night of May 24 and 25.