Finding home in the Padma | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 15, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:06 AM, February 15, 2019

Finding home in the Padma

The mighty Padma river has proven to be a haven for rare species of birds, as some of the most fascinating ones are now found mostly in the chars.

Out of total 750 species of birds spotted across Bangladesh, more than 300 can be found in the river chars, ornithologists said, adding that the vast areas of Rajshahi and Chapainawabganj along the river had become the country's number one habitat for birds for its abundance of diverse species.

“There is no other place in Bangladesh other than the chars in Padma where birds of so many varieties are found in big numbers,” eminent ornithologist Onu Tareq told The Daily Star.

While the globally rare Eurasian spoonbill had never earlier found a habitat in Bangladesh, over the last two years ornithologists saw flocks of Eurasian Spoonbills walking around the Padma or in low crop fields in Chapainawabganj's Barind region in the winters. One of those flocks has around 16 spoonbills.

All six kinds of storks that are found across the globe can also be found on these chars.

The Asian-Woolynecked stork, which was considered to have disappeared for over a hundred years, was found nesting and breeding in Rajshahi's Premtoli in 2016.

Five species of eagle are also found in the chars.

All five kinds of Harriers are found in the chars. The Pied Harrier can also be found nowhere else in Bangladesh but there.

The Sykes's Nightjar was a bird limited to Iran until it flew to Rajshahi three years ago. Some birds fly over the Everest to come here.

For proper conservation, Bangladesh Bird Club last year proposed declaring the areas as sanctuaries for birds. Officials of the forest department have begun studying its prospects, said Tareq, vice president of the club.

As these chars are submerged in the monsoon and reappear when floods are over, the lands generate enough insects with the grass. The birds' fodder does not exhaust even after the farmers ploughs the lands for agriculture. Experts, however, expressed their concern over farming and use of pesticides.

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