Hakaluki Haor, the largest marshy wetland area in the country, is now lively with the chirping and fluttering of flocks of migratory birds, much to the delight of the visitors.
However, this winter the area sees decrease in arrival of the birds compared to last year's.
“We counted 45,100 birds of 44 species in 40 water bodies of Hakaluki Haor during a survey done on February 3 and 4 while 58,289 birds of 50 species were counted last year,” said prominent bird specialist Enam Al Haque, who lead the team that conducted the survey.
Bangladesh Birds Club organised the survey funded by USAID's Climate-Resilient Ecosystems and Livelihoods (Crel) Project.
“Coming of migratory birds depend on the environment. Long-term flood and rain are other problems for guest birds, said Enam Ul Haque, also National Coordinator of Waterfowl Census in Bangladesh.
In Hakaluki Haor, 34,264 birds of 56 species were counted in 2016 and the number was 21,631 in 2015, the organisers said.
Last year's lingering flood and rain in December badly affected the environment for the migratory birds, said Palash Sarker, regional coordinator of Crel Project.
Fewer migratory birds are seen this winter because the aquatic plants that birds feed on mostly remained submerged due to the high water level of the wetland, said Motin Mia, a resident of Pusainagor village under Kulaura upazila of Moulvibazar.
Friendly aquatic trees like Hijal, Koroch, Boran and Murta are being planted in Chatalbil and Dohobil areas to create resting places for birds but the initiative is much less than required, said several locals.
Hakaluki Haor comprising 18,115 hectares is spread over six upazilas in Moulvibazar and Sylhet districts.
In 1999, the Directorate of Environment declared Hakaluki Haor an ecologically critical area as its natural environment with aquatic trees and plants like Hijal and Koroch were being destroyed, resulting in decrease in the arrival of migratory birds.
Later the situation greatly improved with timely initiative by the authorities concerned, along with motivational programmes for locals.