Stork reality: Winged visitors land in Delhi zoo amid calm | Delhi News


NEW DELHI: Even as the National Zoological Park continues to remain shut for visitors during the pandemic, over 400 painted storks have migrated to Delhi. The number could cross 500 as officials are expecting more birds to fly down in the next couple of weeks. The zoo is providing an “undisturbed natural habitat” to the storks in the absence of visitors.
Ramesh Pandey, director, National Zoological Park, told TOI, “With no visitors, the zoo has turned into a mini forest and we are providing a natural habitat to the birds without any disturbance. They are enjoying the tranquility.”
The first flock was spotted on August 6. Zoo officials said they arrived early this year. They usually come by mid-August. “Painted storks are inland migratory birds who come here for nesting and breeding. They are currently building nests on trees near the waterbodies and will lay eggs around December. When their chicks learn to fly in a few months, the birds will return by March,” said Pandey. Every year, 200 to 400 chicks return to their native places with the adult painted storks.
Though the zoo is known for animals in captivity, painted storks have been making their way there for decades. “Painted storks are waders and catch fishes and insects in shallow water. Our artificial waterbodies have fishes, but we add 40kg of two-inch fishes in the ponds daily to ensure a proper diet to the large congregation of birds. During the breeding season, we will increase it to 60kg fishes per day,” said an official.
Officials said if the zoo opens next month, visitors would be delighted to see the birds. Tickets would be available on the zoo website whenever it opens. With a long yellow-coloured beak, painted storks are known for their white and slightly black plumage and pinkish tail.
Apart from the storks, birds like rosy falcon, Indian black ibis, little cormorant and common duck were spotted in the ponds. Currently, there are over 100 species of birds in the zoo.

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