The population of the Sarus crane, named the state bird of Uttar Pradesh (U.P) in July 2015, has been increasing and the trend is expected to continue this year too, officials indicated after the first round of two-day Sarus census that concluded Friday.

Sarus census reflects encouraging trend after first round (HT photo)

In 2021, the forest department survey counts put the Sarus crane figure at 17329, 19188 in 2022 and 19522 in 2023 and the trend is expected to continue this year too.

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“It’s true that we expect the Sarus crane numbers to go up this year as well,” an official said while citing inability to reflect the final figures as the second phase of the survey was still underway.

U.P’s principal chief conservator of forests, Sanjay Shrivastav said: “We carried out the first phase of the counting on June 20 and 21 in the bird sanctuaries and forest areas where these birds frequent. The counts were recorded twice a day, in the morning and evening. Now we will commence the second phase that comprises ground trooping by forest rangers, forest officers who also inquire about Sarus sightings from the masses.”

“The process is time consuming as all of the data needs to be collected from different districts and ranges. That’s why making an announcement on the numbers may take few more days,” he said.

The trends from west U.P. are encouraging.

Officials confirmed having recorded marginal increase of bird population in Meerut and Bijnor forest divisions.

In Meerut, 47 adult and 4 minor cranes were counted in Malipur area of Bheekund wetland, Draupdi Ghat and Sikanderpur forest area of Hastinapur forest range while in Bijnor division total 146 adult and minor cranes were spotted during the survey, officials said.

These survey numbers indicated six new members had been increased in Sarus cranes’ population in Meerut forest division since last survey in June 2023 and 7 new members added in Bijnor forest division since last survey in December 2023.

Sub divisional officer of Bijnor forest division Gyan Singh said that maximum 53 cranes were spotted in Amangarh area, 37 in Nageena forest range, 20 in Bijnor and Dhampur, 11 in Nazibabad and 5 in Chandpur. Forest department staff, WWF India volunteers, NGOs and educational institutions participate in the survey.

ABOUT SARUS

*Adult sarus cranes have gray coloured feathers and body with red coloured head and neck.

*Their beak is sharp, long and green and there is no difference in colour between males and females though males are usually larger than females.

*The red colour of the head and neck of the male becomes brighter during the breeding season. The color of young sarus cranes is brown and changes with age. In juveniles, the lower part of the beak is yellow and the head is brown and covered with feathers.