Geese flying in a V-formation and whittling when about to land, or, a flock of migratory ducks landing on a water-body – these are things birdwatchers miss seeing since summer. Come winter, birdwatchers go out and watch these migrating birds. Some of them even engage in enumerating the numbers and species of the winter migrants they encounter. As we know, many of these birds migrate from cold climes to warmer regions in winter to beat the cold and for food, and such journeys are typically undertaken between their breeding grounds and wintering areas.
It is interesting to note that many species use specific routes during the migration, referred to as flyways. Though this concept of flyways can be applied to any migrating species, it is often spoken about in the context of waterfowl. So much so that the ‘Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals’ defines the concept of a flyway as essentially “an operational concept linked to waterfowl whose populations one wishes to manage over their entire migration space.”
There are several flyways used by migratory birds, and India falls under what is known as the Central Asian Flyway (CAF), which covers a large area of Eurasia between the Arctic and Indian Oceans. It comprises several important migratory routes, most of which extend from the northernmost breeding grounds in Russia to the southernmost wintering grounds in South Asia. Karnataka, with its varied wetland habitats, is just what these migratory birds—geese, ducks and waders—are looking for. They spend the winter months here before heading back to their breeding grounds.
“Wings & Wetlands – a story of migration” takes us on a journey along the wetlands of Karnataka, which provide refuge to local and migratory water-birds. It is produced by the Karnataka Forest Department as part of its outreach activity, for the state’s action plan on the Central Asian Flyway. It was premiered at the 13th CMS-COP held in Gandhinagar (Gujarat), in February 2020. It is a short documentary that highlights water-birds, especially the ones that migrate to India during winter, and the wetlands that they migrate to.
We thank the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Government of India, and Karnataka Forest Department, and everyone else who worked for this film and have been with us. Special thanks to Ricky Kej, Vanil Veigas, Dr. Subramanya, Karthikeyan S, and The Edit Room for their support, and all the scientists/organizations for providing bird migration details.
This documentary is available in both English and Kannada.