About Amur Falcon
- Amur falcon is a small raptor of the falcon
- The raptor (bird of prey) — the size of a pigeon — makes its home in Nagaland, flying a staggering 22,000 km from there to South Africa, then onto Mongolia and back to Nagaland. The bird has one of the longest and most fascinating migratory paths in the avian world.
- The falcon breeds in south-eastern Siberia and north-eastern China, where the Amur River divides the Russian Far East and China.
- Amur Falcon breeds in south-eastern Siberia, Mongolia and Northern China before migrating in large flocks across India and over the Arabian Sea to winter in Southern Africa.
- Its IUCN Conservation status is “Least Concerned”
- Doyang Lake near Pangti village in Nagaland’s Wokha district is their stopover since 2010.
Amur Falcon Festival
- The Tyrso Valley Wildlife Protection Society is an NGO formed by the villagers of the eponymous Meghalaya village adjoining Umru.
- The group has been organising the Amur Falcon Festival since 2015 to celebrate the “birds that have this back-of-beyond area famous”.
- The festival is scheduled on fortnight before the birds are expected to soar for the next destination on their migration.
- The Umru-Tyrso area, about 75 km northeast of Shillong, however, is a relatively recent pit stop for the Amur falcons.
- The birds used to flock to Umwang, also in the Block II disputed area, from 1998-2009 before human interference made them shift base.
- It is a small raptor, of the size of a pigeon. It covers one of the largest migratory distances from Mongolia and Russia to South Africa.
- It is not a critically endangered species and is found in large numbers. However, due to indiscriminate killing, their numbers are rapidly coming down.
- It is considered as a delicacy in Nagaland and widely hunted and sold in the local market.
- The Centre decided to develop Doyang Lake in Nagaland, famous as a roosting site for longest travelling raptors Amur Falcons, as an eco-tourism spot for bird-watchers.
- Umru is in Block II, one of 12 disputed areas along the Assam-Meghalaya border, since Meghalaya was carved out of Assam in 1972.
- Assam claims the village is under Baithalangso Assembly constituency of East Karbi Anlong district while Meghalaya asserts it is under Mawhati Assembly constituency of its Ri-Bhoi district.
- The 50-odd Gorkha households in the village prefer to be in Assam while the 30 Khasi tribal households want to be in Meghalaya.
- But these disputes are forgotten when the village welcomes the falcons in mid-October, uniting to ensure a safe stay for the birds.
- Both communities have made common cause in protection of the Amur falcons and have fixed a fine of ₹25,000 for anyone caught ensnaring or killing the birds.
Changtongya Community Conservation Reserve
The migratory birds earlier used to roost in very large numbers in the Changtongya Community Conservation Reserve but moved on to Pangti and Yaongyimchen, a lesser roosting site.
Efforts are on to revive the Changtongya area, about 100 km north of Pangti, for the migratory raptors.