Forest Office is responsible for bird conservation during annual harvesting

- Bishal Bhandari, Student (Bachelor in Forestry) Agriculture and Forestry University Faculty Of Forestry College of Natural Resource Management, Udayapur katari

     Bishal Bhandari    
     Thursday May 26, 2022

The harvest of dense tree of Sal (Shorea robusta) in the community forest was stopped after a red-naped ibis nest was noticed in the top of the tree.

According to Divisional Forest officer Bishnulal Ghimire, “They gave a permit to harvest 4D plants in the Pasupati Community Forest of Udayapur-Katari, but during monitoring they noticed a nest of birds in the dense tree of shorea robusta near the roadside of the community forest and stopped for harvest a tree.” He said that, despite the fact that the tree belongs to the 4D plant family, harvesting the tree is delayed owing to a bird’s nesting and reproductive behavior in the tree.

According to Bishnulal Ghimire, the divisional forest officer, the bird they saw in that tree was a red-naped ibis, and their behavior indicates that they are caring for their small offspring in the nest. The Community Forest User Group has been given permission to harvest that tree only after the red-naped ibis’ small offspring begins to fly.

After a detail study we found that, the red-naped ibis also known as the Indian black ibis or black ibis is a species of ibis found in the plains of the Indian Subcontinent. Unlike other ibises in the region it is not very dependent on water and is often found in dry fields a good distance away from water. It is usually seen in loose groups and can be told by the nearly all dark body with a white patch on the shoulder and a bare dark head with a patch of crimson red warty skin on the crown and nape. It has a loud call and is noisy when breeding. It builds its nest most often on the top of a large tree or palm.

Red-naped ibises usually nest individually and not in mixed species heronries. They very rarely form small colonies consisting of 3-5 pairs in the same tree. The breeding season is variable but most often between March and October and tending to precede the monsoons. When pair-bonding, females beg for food from the males at foraging grounds. Males also trumpet from the nest site.  The nests are mainly large stick platforms that are 35-60 centimetres in diameter and about 10-15 centimetres deep. Old nests are reused as are those of kites and vultures.

The nests are loosely lined with straw and fresh material to the nest is added even when the eggs are being incubated. The nests are usually at a height of 6–12 metres above ground, often close to human habitation. The eggs are 2–4 in number and pale bluish green in colour. They are sparsely flecked and have pale reddish blotches. Both male and female red-naped ibis incubate the eggs which hatch after 33 days.

We concluded that due to nearby streams and ponds located in the area, that could be the reason for having a nest in that tree near the roadside. The Community forest User Group shouldn’t only focus on the conservation of forests but should also be responsible for biodiversity conservation. People should be aware of the importance of wildlife and habitat management in order to conserve a community forest’s entire biodiversity. The appreciable action taken by the Division Forest Office in Udayapur (Tribeni) can be a lesson to learn for others.

Author Bhandari is Student (Bachelor in Forestry) Agriculture and Forestry University Faculty Of Forestry College of Natural Resource Management, Udayapur katari.