Picture courtesy- www.wildernessbirding.com

Study to determine dwindling house crow population

The Nature Conservation Division (NCD) in collaboration with the Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environmental Research (UWICER) has initiated a count of the house crow population in Thimphu city area, whose population has visibly declined in recent years say bird specialists.

“Even without any formal study we have noticed a decline in their numbers,” said UWICER ornithologist Sherab.

He said the survey is being done using transect method, during early morning and evening, to map the major congregation sites in Thimphu.

Sherab said that in Bhutan, house crows are normally distributed along the urban areas in the southern region bordering India. However, in the recent past they have started inhabiting the areas northward where they were never found before.

From the survey results, short-term interventions like trapping and translocation of birds to the natural habitats will be carried out. Nest destruction and site-specific waste management will be adopted as long term measures.

Such activity as per the WCD is aimed at collecting detailed information about the bird and its response to change in environment.

“The survey will also indicate any decline in the population of house crows over the years,” Sherab said.

The house crow is native to India, parts of Asia and the Middle East. In the past house crows were deliberately introduced to new areas supposedly as an aid to cleaning refuse from towns.

As per the Nature Conservation Division house crows have become established in more than 28 countries outside their native range. House crows are globally regarded as invasive species, known agricultural pests, detrimental to native bird species and carriers of number of human enteric disease organisms.

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