A bird tagged by the 139-year-old Bombay Natural History Society, the common redshank, has been found 5,100 kilometres away in Russia, setting off a flutter of excitement among nature lovers.
The BNHS has confirmed the finding of the bird tagged by researchers at the T S Chanakya wetland in Navi Mumbai.
‘‘The bird, just about 30cm long, flew at least 5,100km, from Mumbai to Altai in Russia, where it was spotted by Alexey Ebel of the Russian Bird Conservation Union (RBCU). On seeing the tag, Alexy sent an e-mail to the BNHS and after due process, we could confirm that the bird was tagged by us,” BNHS scientist Mrugank Prabhu said.
In a tweet, the BNHS said: “From Mumbai to Altai - this Common RedShank, tagged by the BNHS team, has covered a distance of at least 5,100 Km”.
The common redshank nests in wet meadows in Iceland, Britain, much of continental Europe, the Middle East and temperate Asia (to 4,500 metres in the Himalayas), and it winters from Africa to the Philippines, according to britannica.com.
It is not considered a threatened species by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), but is protected by the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) under the UNEP, scientists say.
This is not the first time that BNHS-tagged birds have been noticed at several places, said B N Kumar, director, NatConnect Foundation.
In fact, some birds tagged to study their flight patterns, as part of the air-safety exercise for the Navi Mumbai International Airport, have been found in Uran and Alibaug near Mumbai.
This confirms site fidelity – a typical characteristic of birds to frequent the same site for roosting and resting – said another BNHS scientist.
“This is exactly why we have been campaigning to save the wetlands of Navi Mumbai and Mumbai to avoid chaos among birds if they miss the destinations that they are used to,” NatConnect said.