- Flocks of flamingos are turning the city of Mumbai, India pink.
- Flamingos have long migrated to Mumbai for feeding and breeding season between November and May, but residents are reporting a population boom in the pink birds while they’re in lockdown.
- A new report from the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) estimates the flamingo migration population is 25% higher than last year
- Its director says lockdown is giving birds “peace for roosting, no disturbance in their attempt to obtain food, and overall encouraging habitat.”
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As Science Times explained, flamingos have long migrated to Mumbai for feeding and breeding season between November and May.
However, residents are now reporting a population boom in the gorgeous pink birds likely due to the availability of space as more and more humans remain at home.
Science News noted the Bombay Natural History Society’s (BNHS) new report that estimates the flamingo migration population this year is 25% higher than last year. According to the group, some 150,000 flamingos have made the epic journey to Mumbai to feed while humans are on lockdown.
“A major reason for the large numbers is also the large flocks of juveniles moving to these sites, following the successful breeding documented two years ago,” Deepak Apte, director of BNHS, told the Hindustan Times.
“Additionally, the lockdown is giving these birds peace for roosting, no disturbance in their attempt to obtain food, and overall encouraging habitat.”
According to Rahul Khot, assistant director of BNHS, the flamingos may be sticking around longer than usual this year both due to the heavy rains and, oddly enough, an increase in domestic sewage, which made food just a bit more bountiful for the birds.
“While there is a decline in industrial waste during the lockdown, the influx of domestic sewage is helping the undisturbed formation of planktons, algae and microbenthos formation, which forms the food for flamingos and other wetland birds,” Khot said.
Though humans can’t go out to see the birds in person, locals are at least enjoying the natural show from balconies, snapping photos of the sea of pink during the day and the birds appearing to light up the lakes like twinkling lights at night.
“Residents are cooped up at home spending their mornings and evenings at their balconies taking photographs and videos of these relaxed birds,” Navi Mumbai resident Sunil Agarwal told the Hindustan Times.
“The lockdown will at least prompt people to focus on what is around them, which they had been taking for granted, and hopefully this site will be declared a flamingo sanctuary soon.”