Sanctuary on guard for flu symptoms in migratory birds

New Delhi, Oct 30 | Updated: Oct 31 2005, 07:34am hrs
Every year, this is the time when the country rejoices the arrival of migratory birds. But this year, with avian flu sounding a nationwide alert and mysterious deaths of over 1000 migratory birds in Kulik sanctuary in north Bengal, officials at Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary have also taken to task in a peculiar way. The park officials are maintaining a continuous vigil on incoming guests. The first flock of 16 birds have been put under constant vigil, ever since they arrived.

So far none of the guests at the sanctuary have been found to be infected, said a sanctuary official, who has been recently trained to observe the flu symptoms in the birds like inability to fly, skewed neck and dullness in the eyes.

The officials at the park have been instructed to take instant action against any bird showing signs of indifferent gait. If a bird is found to have an indifferent gait, the drill is to separate it from the flock and take it to the parks veterinary hospital. A high risk diagnostic lab has also been set up in the hospitals to carry out various pathological tests. To distinguish between the guests and local feathered residents, the officials here are using microphones and numbered rings.

About 90 species of migratory birds come every year from snow-capped reaches of Siberia, eastern Europe and Middle East Asia. They include the Flamingo, Common Pochard, Spoonbill, Barheaded Goose, Common Redshank, Ruddy Shelduck, Demoiselle Crane, Yellow Wigtail, Coot, Red Crested Pochard, Shovella, Mallard and Pintail.