When owls roam Karachi, it is unlikely that someone will be disappointed. The metropolis, even with its distinctive concrete jungle and unsanitary air, appears to have turned into a generous owl’s nest – so keep an eye out for bird conservationists and wildlife photographers.
First, bird conservationist Zohaib Ahmed has noticed a significant increase in the number of owls perched on window sides, tree branches and other places that nocturnal birds deem suitable for resting in residential areas near the Chowarangi nagin.
“And they were also seen in other locations in the city,” he told The Express Tribune, noting that the owl population had grown rapidly in the port city.
Likewise, Jaffar Mandhro, a wildlife photographer said he has observed growing spoon owl populations in parts of Malir, and in owl sheds elsewhere.
Why is that?
Explaining the reasons behind this unusual occurrence, Ahmed said, “It’s because they have a favorable environment and food here.”
In addition, people generally don’t harm birds in cities, he said.
Elaborating further, Ahmed said, “Attitude [Karachi’s] Population towards birds changed. The Karachi people love birds and affection is shown by the score that feeds them in the old town area. ”
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“They didn’t kill them. They love them, “he said.
However, it’s not just owls that the city has appeared to have embraced in recent days, according to wildlife photographer and conservationist Mirza Naeem Beg.
“The population of all bird species has increased here,” he said, attributing the change to increased awareness about protecting wildlife among city dwellers.
Like the others, however, Beg was unable to provide a figure for the city’s bird population increase.
“We don’t even have data on how many bird species there are in Karachi,” he said, although he estimates the number could be between 75 and 100.
“I recorded 48 species in the Defense Housing Authority phase VIII alone,” he added. “But the old town area is likely home to even greater variety.”
Sindh Wildlife Department conservation head Javed Ahmed Mahar raised the same issue.
“There is no data on the number of bird species living in Karachi,” he said. “Unfortunately, there is no survey [to count the number of species in the city] been done so far. “
Sparrows, common crow, feral dove, black kite, barn owl, common mynas, bank mynas, purple sunbird, common tailor, red ventilated nightingale, asian koel, black crowned night egret, cattle egret, swallow Small, red lapwings, laughing doves and rose ringed parakeets are a few who have chosen the Karachi skies as their home and are frequently seen flying past.
“But Karachi, [likely], has more birds than any other city in Pakistan, ”said Mahar, again stressing the need for surveys to record bird populations in a metropolitan city.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 17th, 2021.