Bird diversity has undergone change in Lalbagh Gardens. According to ornithologists, 11 bird species in Lalbagh like Coppersmith Barbett, sandpipers, Pied kingfisher, coots, wagtails and moorhens are rarely seen now.
Bengaluru, Oct 15, 2022: Paridhi Jain
Several bird species in Lalbagh have decreased in numbers and are spotted rarely. The main reason is because Lalbagh has become an isolated green patch surrounded by built up. There is also change in the disturbance levels with more people coming in.From 1973 to 2009, the buildings in Bengaluru have increased from 7.97 percent to 58.40 percent and vegetation has gone from 68.27 percent to 16.32 percent according to scientists at IISC.
Ullas Anand, a local resident near Lalbagh says, “I have been visiting Lalbagh since 1989. I used to see a lot of ducks and wader birds. Now there are more people and a smaller number of birds.” According to experts, the drastic reduction in the shrub layer and hedges in Lalbagh over the past couple of decades, has resulted in drop in the numbers of shrub and hedge dwelling birds like Ashy wran warbler and magpie robin.
G Kusuma, Deputy Director of Horticulture (Lalbagh Gardens) says, “We have kept few places for birds in the garden intact, like near the lake. Since it’s a botanical garden we give emphasis to botanical species especially new species. That is our main motto.”
Dr.Krishna MB is an ornithologist studying birds in Lalbagh since 1975. According to him, “Changes have been observed in the lake with clearing of vegetation and stone pitching. Slopes have been steeper. Lakes in Bengaluru from 1996 to 2016 have shown decline in species like sandpipers and black winged stilt due to these reasons.”
Krishna MB adds further, “Lots of migratory birds like Garganey used to come. Now these are gone because of changes in the lake, shore line vegetation got removed. Also in 1970s, we used to get Iora (small passerine bird) which are totally absent now. Essentially change has happened in lower levels where like shore birds and ground birds have been affected the most”.
According to ornithologist, Birds and other biodiversity in such green patches would not be able to survive if all areas are cleared and mowed down. Some patches have to be kept wild and covered with shrubs. Such system will be beneficial for birds and other biodiversity.