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Migratory bird flies 3,500km to return to Bangladesh

  • Published at 12:17 am October 18th, 2019
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Migratory duck 'kiswa', with chips attached to its body Collected

One among 44 other migratory ducks were sent with chips attached to them to track their journey for research purposes

On a winter morning, a group of researchers released 44 migratory ducks, called "kiswa", with chips attached to their bodies, to help track their journey when they left Bangladesh for abroad. 

The first duck has returned, flying all the way from China, after crossing some 3,500km on Tuesday- after it left the Tanguar Haor in Sunamganj district of Bangladesh on February 5.

It took the ducks three days to make it here; that too, at a temperature as low as -7 degrees Celsius. 

All the ducks were attached with GPS/GSM satellite tags under a project of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Bangladesh and Linnaeus University in Sweden in collaboration with Bangladesh Forest Department and Bangladesh Bird Club, to conduct research upon the conditions of the journey the bird faced during its long flight. 

When contacted, IUCN Bangladesh’s Senior Programme Officer ABM Sarowar Alam said they are learning a lot about migratory birds through the research, which is still underway. 

“Our aim is to know where the birds come from, and the environmental conditions they face during their journey to Bangladesh. The project will help us a lot to know all these vital issues,” he said.

The electronic devices are relaying data on the last known location and condition every hour, he said. That information is stored in a database accessible to researchers working on the project.    

The data – focused on wind speed, direction, location, and habitat – will be used for conserving migratory birds and wetlands, he further said.

Usually, it was a common notion that migratory birds come to Bangladesh every winter, but the return of the first kiswa proved the idea wrong, said Sarowar.

Kiswa is a female wild duck of the Garganey species, and mostly breeds in much of Europe and western Asia. The status of the species on the IUCN Red List is “Least Concerned”.

In a Facebook status on Tuesday afternoon, he wrote: “The migratory route of this duck is clearly shown in the amazing maps where the duck flew over the mighty Himalayas. 

This very kiswa, a dabbling duck, that returned on Tuesday had travelled to Qinghai province in China after spending its summer on Senie Lake," he mentioned in the post.

“We are looking forward to our other tagged birds return safely to Bangladesh and start our next season's work,” he further added.

Most of the other ducks, the IUCN researcher said, have already travelled or are travelling to China, Mongolia, Russia and the Indian state of Himachal and are expected to return to Bangladesh by next February. 

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