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A Black Kite from Thailand reaches Mumbai setting a new record of East-West migration

Story By Harsh Vardhan: A Black Kite from Thailand flew over Myanmar, and all over East India to finally stay in Maharashtra, taking up a five month long journey. 

The East-west migration of birds, is not quite common while the North-South migration is almost 100 per cent in record for birds all over the world. 

Good news for bird community!

Chaiyan Kasorndorkbua, a bird expert in Thailand, conveyed this message to the global bird watchers’ community. 

The message was picked up by Jaipur based Harsh Vardhan, as part of such efforts. Chaiyan came up within hours over email to provide details:  

“The photo shows my graduate student holding the Black Kite, after we mounted the satellite tracker on its back, and prior to placing it back in the nest on April 9 , 2020 in Nakhon Nayok province in Central Thailand. This bird had hatched in Feb 2020. This Kite tracking project is led by Kasetsart Raptor Research and Conservation Medicine program which I oversee. It is  supported by the Raptor Research Fund for Conservation, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Kasetsart University, Thailand. It is a juvenile bird designated as R96 (code givebn to each tagged bird, or named as Naga), tagged with GSM/GPS logger and has provided very interesting post-fledging movement. 

A Black Kite from Thailand reaches Mumbai setting a new record of East-West migration
A Black Kite tagged in Thailand, photo courtesy Chaiyan

The Kite took Flight of Fancy from Myanmar

“After being tagged in February 2020, it  started flying towards Myanmar, Mizoram and roamed over Dacca (Dhaka) in Bangladesh on 11 June 2020. Eight more, juvenile and adult, are to be tagged next breeding season.” A bird expert in Dhaka, Hasa and his friends reported to Chaiyan that there was a Black kite roosting site in Ramna park in Dhaka University Campus in Bangladesh. Naga would have been roosting in this area as  recorded by its coordinates between 10 and 11 June 2020.” 

A proud Chaiyan told Harsh, “On 14 June 2020, this bird was staying at Ulhas River in Maharashtra and made around 5,000 km journey from Thailand. (See attached maps to better understand the tracking map.)

Here comes the citation as well: Hasa, MH.S, A.M.M.K. Ahedin, A.. Sirker. H. Saher. 2018. Roosting site selection of Black Kite (Milvus migrans). In Proceeding of 21st Nature Conference and AGM2018, Bangladesh, page 87. 

What a surprise!

The bird is in Maharashtra where a good number of bird watchers make hay in this practice and no one could observe it though the transmitter is too visible over its back! 

Chaiyan Kasorndorkbua is a DVM, PhD, Diplomate Thai Board of Veterinary Pathology at the Kasetsart Laboratory of Raptor Research and Conservation Medicine in the Department of Pathology (Faculty of Veterinary Medicine) at Kasetsart University, Chatuchak, Bangkok 10900 in Thailand (Email: [email protected] and www.BirdsofThailand.orgwww.facebook.com/ThaiRaptorGroup.TRG, also at www.facebook.com/KasetsartUniversityRaptorUnit

Will India learn a lesson?

October is recording peak in bird migration. The Rajasthan High Court has nominated three experts (28 September 2020) to join government officials to study causes of a massive bird mortality during 2019 at Sambhar Lake and report to it within a month: Dr. Ajit Pattnaik (Orissa’s Chilika Lake), R.N. Mehrotra (tiger relocation expert) and Satiya Salem (animal botulism expert). The authorities did not set up the committee by 3rd week of October. What can India expect from officials on bird conservation? Will they be inspired by Thailand’s example, their bird living in India! 

Black kite is a fairly common bird in India found hovering over waste dumps and standing over branch-less trees. It is known as a scavenger bird. The Thai bird belongs to the same species. Some photos are reproduced here to let readers better understand. 

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