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Heavy snowfall in Europe brings winged visitors to Gurugram's Sultanpur bird sanctuary
Sultanpur National Park in Gurugram has lately been receiving an unprecedented number of winged visitors from all over the world.

Owing to heavy snowfall in Siberia, eastern Europe, Mongolia, and northern China, migratory birds have been flocking at the sanctuary in large numbers. Gurugram's wildlife department has recorded a 60 per cent increase in number of these long-distance fliers, including rare varieties which have been spotted for the first time. 

This year the national park has broken all records in terms of the number of domestic and migratory birds. The previous highest recorded figure was of 60,000, while this year the count has more than doubled with at least 1.25 lakh birds visiting, including the 40,000 that have flown in from abroad. 

In an interview to Mail Today, Shyam Sundar Kaushik, divisional forest officer (DFO) of wildlife Gurugram range said that migratory birds have been flocking at the park since the onset of the winter season and arrivals will continue if the chill in the air remains the same for the next few days. 

He was quoted as saying, "We had registered 25,000 migratory pelicans of 40 varieties last season and the figure in this category has reached 40,000 already with at least 35 more varieties of birds this season. This is an encouraging sign for us and it is also an indication of good air quality in the region."

"The period between September and March is ideal breeding time for all birds in India near the Tropic of Cancer," Kaushik said.

"We have made adequate food arrangements in the wetland areas spread over 182 acres inside the sanctuary. Ideal breeding space inside the park also helps in enhancing the population of birds," he added further. 

The wildlife department uses its own census process for counting birds, including the use of camera-trapping. The park had to be closed down for more than a month late last year following a bird flu scare in Delhi and Hisar.

As per officials, migratory birds like the brown-breasted fly-catcher, scaly thrush, Asian brown fly-catcher, large tailed nightjar, besra, grey-headed lapwing, leaf warbler, domicile crane and spotted crane have been sighted at the park for the very first time. 

The Sultanpur National Park is popular as a picnic spot among the people of Delhi NCR, especially during the winter months when thousands of bird from all across the world visit the bird sanctuary. 

The park among other facilities, has four watch towers (machans) located at different points, an education and interpretation centre, a library, films, slides and binoculars for the convenience of bird lovers. 

According to Sube Singh, who's a bird specialist and guide at Sultanpur National Park, believes that birds are highly sensitive to climate change and nature. 

He said, "Last weekend we registered four thousand footfalls in the park and if conditions will remain the same for the next few days, it will attract more and more people from across NCR."

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