This year’s first two radio satellite tagged female Amur falcons were released at Puching village in Manipur’s Tamenglong district on Thursday.
The falcons were released by the scientists from Wildlife Institute of India (WII) in collaboration with the Manipur forest department and villagers.
The tagged Amur falcons have been named as ‘Puching’ named after Puching village and ‘Irang’, named after river Irang.
WII scientist Dr Suresh Kumar told Northeast Now that they successfully released two birds at Puching village on Thursday.
Dr Kumar, who has so far tagged 10 falcons, said he really felt “wonderful and honoured” to be a “part of the radio tagging exercise”.
The radio tagged falcons were jointly released by village chairman Ramkhuanang Gonmei and Dr Kumar in presence of Tamenglong forest division officials and villagers.
A prayer session was conducted by village pastor Th. Akham around 7 am for the safe passage of the birds.
‘Puching’, weighing 195 gm and ‘Irang’, weighing 155 gm, were selected out of three falcons, captured from Puching village on October 30.
It takes 4 hours to drive to Puching village from Imphal.
Dr Kumar has been camping in the hill district along with four other experts since October 18 to radio tag and study the migratory birds.
He informed that the (Puching) village is the same village where satellite tagged falcon ‘Manipur’ was killed last year.
“But this year, the villagers have taken up the Amur falcon conservation seriously and they need to be appreciated for their conservation efforts,” Dr Kumar said.
Through Amur falcon tagging programme, the common people are made aware of the bird, forest and its rich biodiversity.
Last year, two falcons – Tamenglong, a female named after Tamenglong district and Manipur, a male named after Manipur state – were satellite radio tagged on November 4, 2018.
The tagging was done to study the flight route of the migratory birds.
But ‘Manipur’ was found dead four days later after release at Puching area while Tamenglong lost contact in Zambia on December 14, 2018.
Range officer Kh. Hitler of Tamenglong forest division thanked everyone including rainforest club Tamenglong for making villagers aware of the migratory birds.
Village chairman Ramkhuanang also spoke on the occasion.
On the other hand, forest officer Hitler, when contacted informed that three more falcons would be released after tagging in the next few days.
The falcons spend their summers at their breeding grounds in southeast Russia and northeast China.
They migrate to their wintering grounds in South Africa undertaking a yearly journey of about 20,000 km.
In their journey, these pigeon-sized birds arrive in large numbers during October in Nagaland and Manipur besides a few places in Northeast India.
They leave the region in November after having enough food for their non-stop flight to Africa.