Once the winter season comes to an end, they return to their homelands where the cold weather becomes somewhat bearable
During the months of Karthik and Agrahayan (around mid-October to mid-December) every year, migratory birds such as storks, cranes, and herons move to Bangladesh to escape the harsh winter in the northern hemisphere.
The guest birds, finding sanctuary in the warmer climate of northern district of Nilphamari, live off fish and insects from canals, waterlogged croplands, and fields of winter-rice.
Once the winter season comes to an end, they return to their homelands where the cold weather becomes somewhat bearable.
According to the Wildlife Conservation and Security Act, hunting and killing of migratory birds is a punishable offence. But local poachers and bird hunters, making their stay unwelcome, hunt them down and sell them for consumption.
Some hunters along with locals, however, claim the hunting continues to go unchecked due to lack of intervention as well as the lack of public awareness.
The Chairman of Sadar Upazila Parishad, Shahid Mahmud said: “Migratory birds are frequently hunted from swamps and canals by a group of poachers using various traps. They generally hunt from the night until dawn and sell them to local markets. Thus the ecological biodiversity is hampered.”
The law prohibits the killing of these guest birds, who visit our country for its warmer climate. However, lack of proper implementation of the law and of awareness, these birds are continuously being hunted, he added.
A local bird hunter Hanif from Milon village, said: “I often hunt birds in winter using traps and sell them to locals. Bird hunting is on the rise because there is no announcement, leaflet distribution or steps to raise public awareness in the upazila or district levels.
“I didn't even know it is illegal,” claimed Hanif.
District Forest Officer Mahbubur Rahman said: “We cannot patrol the hunting grounds because of inadequate manpower and do not have any government transport either. Regardless, we are trying our best to be vigilant about bird hunting in the district.”
Nilphamari Deputy Commissioner Hafizur Rahman Chowdhury said: “Hunting migratory birds has severe detrimental effects on biodiversity. Regular inspections are conducted and we are making sure that hunters cannot sell any birds in the local market.”