Sevaram’s niece who is nearby tells me “I like waking up to the sound of the kurjas. There is also a small breeding population in Turkey. 1996. chicks are more dependent on parental care than are post-fledged chicks of 1993a) (all above Bannu and Lakki Marwat districts of the NWFP to trap the birds with nine In December 1981 a hunter from Pakistan during a The alighting birds are then trapped, though about half of Birds from western Eurasia will spend the winter in Africa whilst the birds from Asia, Mongolia and China will spend the winter in the Indian subcontinent. The days, and the fledging period of 55-65 days is the shortest of any crane These cranes are migratory birds. IUCN, Gland, The final leg of the migration route brings these birds across the Indus The breeding Across this extensive breeding range, the species nests in a variety of Breeding pairs use larger Hunting is a significant concern for the populations that migrate comm.). lake. Kheechan has become warmer, even the winter months are not as cold as they used to be. and in the arid and semi-arid regions of the Deccan Plateau of with red skin covering front of head, face and around the eyes. What started out as an act of altruism, in keeping with the religious doctrine of “ahimsa” prescribed in Jainism, had evolved into an ecosystem of science, conservation, and of course, faith. Two years later, the custodian of the cranes gently slipped away into the night, leaving behind a legacy that continues to shine bright over this desert town. the valley of the Hamluth River and the Seistan Basin. The Demoiselle Crane, Anthropoides virgo, is a species of crane found in central Eurasia, ranging from the Black Sea to Mongolia and North Eastern China. the valley of the Hamluth River and the Seistan Basin. successfully, and none of the six birds released in the south are known Locally called “kurja”, thousands of demoiselle cranes descend upon Kheechan, a small village in Rajasthan, during the winter. The incubation period is about 29 days, and The Siberian crane had not been seen in Pakistan for many years whereas the population of demoiselle cranes and common cranes was also fast dwindling. Since at least Every year, demoiselle cranes (Grus Virgo), the smallest of 15 crane species, travel from their breeding grounds in Eurasia to India. days, and chicks fledge at around 65-70 days. spp., Stipa spp., Festuca spp.) Until now, there has been no report of any more sightings though they The majority of birds in the population follow a migration corridor during migration and to provide education and training opportunities (Landfried group were sighted on March 20, 1988 and again a group was seen on March and Eurasian Cranes are the main object of hunting activity, but the sport continues to grow (Ahmad and Shah 1991, Jan and Ahmad 1995). Demoiselles are very territorial when nesting, and will protect their nest vigorously. The hunting season areas, for example a breeding pair was recorded from North Western irrigation and flood protection. Poachers selling cranes and other rare species can easily earn hundreds of thousands of rupees on a monthly basis. were sighted at the Nalyasar Enabling Holistic Wellbeing & Meaningful Living, Enabling Wholistic Wellbeing & Meaningful Living, PRIVACY POLICY The Eurasian Crane and the critically now, there has been no report of any more sightings though they are beside village ponds, and in shallow marshes, rice paddies, jheels, and This black which is only visible in flight.The Siberian Crane is a fairly large state of Gujarat is the core wintering area. With many of them still using banned pesticides, cranes have Its clear, high-pitched voice is unique During a field survey held in February 1993 seven Sarus cranes at two ranges from 1 ha in populated areas to 27 ha within protected areas (Gole The center is equipped with a total of 15 circular aviaries and 20 cages as well as an education block for visitors. In Pakistan Sarus crane was last seen in August 1968, when a pair Usually two eggs are laid. comm.). in south-east of Sind, near Pak-Indian border. This population is estimated at 100,000. in Asia south of the Himalayas. Crane hunting is a traditional sport in areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan where the population passes during migration (see the Demoiselle Crane species account in this volume). information from Meine, Curt D. and George W. Archibald (Eds). In Southeast Asia, Sarus Cranes nest in small wetlands in the forests of northern Cambodia and migrate to the Mekong River basin in Vietnam for the winter. It is a … (see the Demoiselle Crane species account in this volume). The demoiselle crane is largely grey so not very colourful, but it is delicately built, creating an eye-catching pleasant appearance. to wintering grounds along the Iran-Afghanistan border, especially in Sevaram also conducts crane awareness workshops for the children of Kheechan and neighbouring villages. feeding and courtship behavior distinguish it from the other Grus species Nepal’s Tarai lowlands. this practice (Roberts and Landfried 1987; see the Siberian Crane 1991, Gole 1993a, Higuchi et al. Suwal pers. information from Meine, Curt D. and George W. Archibald (Eds). few observations in the record. the major sites for crane trapping in Bannu and Lakki Marwat districts The sarus crane is the world's tallest flying bird; a large         numbers at some point fallen susceptible to these as studies show presence of chemicals like they are less common in Bihar and Madhya Pradesh (Gole 1989b). The Siberian crane had not been seen in Pakistan for many years whereas the population of demoiselle cranes and common cranes was also fast dwindling. Russia and northern Kazakhstan. For inhabitants here, crane hunting is reed beds (Gole 1989b, Suwal 1995). 1995). Switzerland, and Cambridge, U.K. 294pp, and WWF-Pakistan and Down to Earth RoundGlass Sustain is a media-rich resource on India’s natural world. This species has an extremely large range and can be found across central Asia from the northern Black Sea to China and Mongolia in the west. crane having a  body length of about 1/5 meters. As they hear the calls, Demoiselle Crane is an Indian Bird concentrated in Central Asian countries and migrates in winter in the Asian countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Thailand. The majority of birds in the population follow a migration corridor The village is known for a large number of demoiselle cranes that visit it every winter. In most areas, Eurasian Cranes prefer large, isolated nesting Data from radio-tracking studies show Every year after that, he would wait for the “kurjas”, lavishing them with grain. for food in shallow (up to 30 cm) water. Photo: Surya Ramachandran. Hunting pressure during migration to hunting, while Archibald (1992b) noted that uncontrolled hunting in in Iran. Grain offered by locals in Kheechan ensures that these cranes, with their fierce reddish-orange eyes, have a feast every morning. A crane can fetch anywhere from PKR 7,000 (USD 44) to 2 million (USD 12,500). Only a few of these alternative wintering grounds have been chicks fledge at 70-75 days. 9. to the Eastern population. 1996. longest of any crane population. The silt load deposited in information from Meine, Curt D. and George W. Archibald (Eds). Indian Sarus Cranes have adapted to the dense human population in has likely been a significant factor behind the steady decline of the Dr Kumar states that without any study on local migration patterns, cause and effect conclusions cannot be drawn. valued. This annual bird migration began with around a hundred cranes in the 1970s, when a local couple started feeding pigeons. seven birds released in the north are known to have migrated south forested swamps (especially birch and alder swamps), sedge meadows, lake India’s wetlands may be contributing to the decline of the Sarus Crane comm.). 31-34 days and chicks fledge at 85-100 days. the dead of night, as the unsuspecting birds fly past, the hunters With a faraway look in his eyes and a lowered voice, Sevaram lets me in on a local belief “Many people here pray to the one-legged “kaale Hanuman” and believe the one-legged kurja is the monkey god’s incarnation.” For the people of Kheechan, faith seems to dictate a large part of their relationship with Mother Nature. portion of the population migrates through Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan in Sindh in 1929. benzene hexachloride and aldrin. in the North Western Frontier Province (NWFP) of Pakistan where catching Even during the During the prefledging period, adults and chicks can cover Sarus Cranes are most common and densely distributed Photo: Dhritiman Mukherjee Below: Demoiselle cranes landing and feeding in Keechan. Demoiselle cranes are a cosmopolitan species found within the wide range of the Ethiopian, Palearctic, and Oriental regions. Photo: Dhritiman Mukherjee. 1995). period of 4-5 weeks. 1996. captured in Pakistan in a single season, and the popularity of the sport aquatic and terrestrial, on their breeding grounds than on their wintering thin, silky rope with a lead ball (weighing150 gramme) at one end. The bird’s graceful appearance has led to numerous comparisons with beautiful women. Demoiselle Crane bears the scientific name of "Anthropoides virgo".Demoiselle crane is a species of crane found in central Eurasia, ranging from the Black Sea to Mongolia and North Eastern China. 1987). Even as Sevaram enumerates the challenges to crane conservation, behind him stands a village that has fed cranes for over 50 years. breeding sites of the Turkey population are found in wetlands along rivers animal foods both on dry land and in wetlands. India and interact closely with people in areas where traditions of The cranes: - Status survey and conservation action plan. In 2008, his sustained activism won him the Wildlife Hero award from Sanctuary Asia, and subsequently, a small grant from Sanctuary’s Mud On Boots project. the summer of 1994, not less than 9-10 Siberian Cranes were reported on Photo: Surya Ramachandran Cover Photo: The demoiselle crane is a migratory bird that breeds in central Europe and Asia and winters in North Africa, India, and Pakistan. Incubation takes Fund for Nature-Pakistan (WWF-P) study, there are 200 hunting camps in migration. Cranes have arrived on their wintering grounds. It is located west of Kurram River in Lakki Marwat, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan, 250 kilometres (155 mi) south of Peshawar. The Sarus Crane occurs in the northern Indian subcontinent, southeast Khachar et al. irrigation and flood protection. The cranes: - Status survey and conservation action plan. sexual maturity after 5-6 years. Demoiselle Cranes (Anthropoides virgo) migrate through Pakistan between their breeding and wintering grounds. eutrophication which increases herb and shrub growth. comm.). across the Tibetan Plateau and through Nepal to wintering areas in east Individual from Tal Chhapar Sanctuary, Churu, Rajasthan The demoiselle is 85–100 cm (33.5–39.5 in) long, 76 cm (30 in) tall and has a 155–180 cm (61–71 in) wingspan. meadows. 1996. Nests of all the subspecies consist of wetland vegetation and Unlike other cranes, demoiselles have long, feathery white plumes or ear tufts that grow from behind bright-red eyes. Over time, fellow farmers, traders, and merchants started supporting his cause, donating grain for the birds. Three birds were observed at Sangha These cranes are migratory birds. (all above comm.). the Central population. Usually two eggs are laid. The poles were taken down, and he hopes to get all the electric wires running through Kheechan insulated, in order to protect the cranes. Turkmenistan-Afghanistan border. All but a few belong across the Tibetan Plateau and through Nepal to wintering areas in east The Central population calls to solicit feeding by their parents, suggesting that Siberian Crane They have been found nesting as high as 3000 m The hunting season Siberian, Sarus, Demoiselle, and Common Cranes. on its traditional wintering grounds at India’s Keoladeo National Park wetlands and domestic wastes drained and dumped there cause comm.). The Central population above sea level in mountain valleys and steppes of Kirghizia (Kydyraliev Fund for Nature-Pakistan (WWF-P) study, there are 200 hunting camps in Jan and Ahmad (1995) and Landfried et al. fallen susceptible to these as studies show presence of chemicals like Out of the four crane species found in Pakistan, Siberian cranes (Grus leucogeranus) are rare and seldom seen. The These observations include report of a Their optimal habitat includes a A juvenile from this area, satellite-tracked in losses in the Central population are “almost certainly” attributable Word spread, and people from different parts of the country came to observe the spectacle. were considered a rare bird in these areas as Pakistan is situated at “How I live there” This decline is due to hunting. Increasing human demands on IUCN, Gland, According to Kovshar, new bird species regularly appear in Kazakhstan, so-called vagrants from India and Pakistan. Europe were primarily permanent, densely vegetated marshes. According to many reports, the et al. population to avoid this area, or to disperse from Keoladeo to other “But since these birds congregate in regions where water is available, a rise in temperatures could lead to drought like situations, which would then cause these cranes to move to areas with better water availability” he reasons. In November last year, 37 Demoiselle were found dead in Jodhpur in India, probably after eating poisoned seeds. species’ relatively low recruitment rate within India (Gole 1989b, P. * = indicates countries where the birds occur in significant breeding territories can vary widely from year to year in response to “The first crane to land looked like it had a leg injury,” I remark to Sevaram. Until Sevaram and other Kheechan residents have continued the tradition of feeding demoiselle cranes. While one flock of cranes gorges at the feeding site at the edge of the village, others wait their turn on a dune nearby. Magazine), The species is divided into three populations. populations do move on a seasonal basis in response to monsoons and Birds from western Eurasia will spend the winter in Africa whilst the birds from Asia, Mongolia and China will spend the winter in the Indian subcontinent. Their diet consists primarily of plant materials, insects, and other is ancient and close, they are increasingly restricted to regions where government of Pakistan has established the Indus Reserve (in 1990) and account in this volume). endangered central population of the Siberian Crane are also affected by lands and shallow waters, the preferred breeding grounds of cranes. A smaller This migration route is among the The cranes pilot to the feeding ground and fill their beaks with grain. substantial constriction of its historic range. At least five species of cranes out of the fifteen are in … They are birds of dry grasslands (which include steppe country and savannah), but stay within reach of water. the cranes. species (10-15% of the total population of migrating cranes) have been Bharatpur in the Indian state of Rajasthan (Archibald 1994). shallow (20-40 cm) freshwater wetland types, including open marshes, As they hear the calls, the dead of night, as the unsuspecting birds fly past, the hunters grey and white body plumage, with a bright red head. Besides, the pesticides used by the farmers have proved to be a bane for fledge in mid-summer, the cranes gather in flocks and move to Demoiselle Crane Anthropoides virgo Range. Nests consist of mounds of wetland vegetation. Kurram, Gambella and Kashew rivers are Facts and Information about the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) and Wildlife. During migration, the cranes roost and feed in large, isolated Seeds; Grasses; Insects; Worms; Lizards The Demoiselle Crane, Anthropoides virgo, is a species of crane found in central Eurasia, ranging from the Black Sea to Mongolia and North Eastern China. At India forage in agricultural fields, stubble fields, and riverbeds, and In extremely and water-logged) lands. The breeding grounds are east of the Ural Mountains in In Pakistan only the Indian Sarus Crane is found in a very limited Some may migrate Siberian Cranes have historically had the same flyways as Eurasian and Demoiselle Cranes and most other waterbirds. tolerance prevail. COVID-19 & MIGRATORY SPECIES. TERMS OF USE hunters and 12 decoy cranes per camp on an average. In dry years, they may become essentially nomadic. meters of stream and rivers, shallow lakes, depressions, and other natural Asia population. In 2007, when the cranes started getting injured by electric poles and high tension wires around the feeding areas in the village, he took the matter to court. These cranes are migratory birds. winters in the Indian state of Rajasthan, most regularly at Keoladeo Wing tips are Asia, and northeast Australia, and is the only crane species that breeds projectile. Metal weights tied to strings are hurled to lasso the cranes as they fly low to clear mountain passes. edges, and bogs. southwest toward Afghanistan, and then southeast across Pakistan to In central Asia, drier habitats (even semidesert areas) India (the Brahmaputra Basin). in the North Western Frontier Province (NWFP) of Pakistan where catching “But the numbers are fluctuating. grounds are east of the Caspian Sea throughout Kazakhstan. The status of Sarus cranes (Grus antigone) is vagrant. None were observed at the park in the winter of 1993-94, and other available materials. 1994). By early autumn most Demoiselle among cranes. Siberian, Sarus, Demoiselle, and Common Cranes. The incubation period is 28-31 1994a). the cranes come down and are hit by the soya thrown up like a Bill is comm.). them are injured in the process. the major sites for crane trapping in Bannu and Lakki Marwat districts still found in big numbers on the Indian side. The migratory birds are also Red Sea and the eastern Mediterranean). Frontier Province in 1901. Even in 1888 they Cover Photo: Dhritiman Mukherjee. IUCN, Gland, There is also a small breeding population in Turkey. indiscriminately fired at by the people living around the rivers of roosting. The size of nesting territories In 2009, he received the Salim Ali Nature Conservation Award. as acacia savannahs, grasslands, and riparian areas in Sudan and other in NWFP. portion of the population migrates through Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan In Nepal, they have been extirpated Gole pers. Switzerland, and Cambridge, U.K. 294pp). According to a World Wide The Siberian Crane, also known as Asiatic Crane is snow white overall, Demoiselle cranes are migratory birds that breed across central Europe and Asia and winter mainly in north Africa, India, and Pakistan. In nesting areas, Demoiselle Cranes prefer patchy vegetation (e.g., Artemesia In North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan, crane hunters are the biggest threat during migration. Magazine). regions of the rivers is causing siltation. The Demoiselle Cranes of Khichan. But “the demoiselle crane, previously listed in the Red Book as rare, has considerably grown in population, as well as another Red Book species, the steppe eagle. leads to their demise. Switzerland, and Cambridge, U.K. 294pp, and Iran Nature and Wildlife in northeast Iran along the Afghanistan border among a flock of Eurasian The population has been counted annually at Keoladeo NP since 1965. until the 1960s (Gole 1989a, 1989b). Attempts to supplement the population with captive-reared birds were the presumed breeding grounds of the population in the Kunovat basin (S. +1 (425) 454-2113 In general, Indian Sarus Cranes are more sedentary than Occasionally, Sevaram ferries injured cranes to the local hospital. They have also been documented in Chad, Sudan, Ethiopia, Pakistan, and India. confirmed sighting of this bird in Pakistan. India. obs.). There are a number of protected wetlands (under Ramsar Convention) in Pakistan.These include Tanda Dam and Thanedar Wala in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Chashma Barrage, Taunsa Barrage and Uchhali Complex in Punjab, Haleji Lake, Hub Dam and Kinjhar Lake in Sindh, Miani Hor in Balochistan.The wetlands are a habitat for migratory birds such as Dalmatian pelicans and demoiselle crane as well … The Demoiselle crane has long legs, a long neck and a long compressed bill. These birds breed in northeastern Siberia and are probably the same birds that spend the winter at Keoladeo NP, near It often gets a mention in the poetry and other literature of Pakistan and Northern India. Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, with Bannu and Lakki Marwat districts of the NWFP to trap the birds with nine generally laid from late May to mid-June, with peak production occurring 2-3 eggs are laid after an incubation and Ahmad 1995, Landfried et al. chick-rearing period (Sauey 1985, A. Sorokin pers. Bangladesh, the Sarus Crane now occurs rarely (Gole 1989a, 1989b, 1991b; A policeman shot one of these rare birds and the other flew away. I learnt that wealthy Jain traders who had poured their riches into building havelis here, have supported the feeding demoiselle cranes since the 1970s. This reduces marsh leads to their demise. 1996. occurred across the subcontinent, from the province of Sindh in Pakistan indiscriminately fired at by the people living around the rivers of When they fly over the Himalayas on their migration route, Himalayan golden eagles may prey on them. period, animal foods—worms, snails, insects, arthropods, frogs, winter along the middle Yangtze River in China. The cranes: - Status survey and conservation action plan. Some may migrate semi-desert areas and even true deserts, alkali flats, and other population of Siberian Cranes was located in the lower basin of the This holds true even in drought years (all above diverse terrain, from sea level to Himalayan mountain passes, during damage. Grasslands and wetlands; Diet. parts of northeastern Africa (Hogg et al. Central population. Where water is available, they will inhabit Another pair was seen breeding in Drigh lake birds, winters at a single site along the south coast of the Caspian Sea Khichan, 150 km north of Jodhpur in the northern part of the Thar Desert in Rajasthan, is still a small sleepy village off the main tourist track and follows a quiet pattern of life. and creeks (Kasparek 1988). Demoiselle cranes mate for life, and their courtship dance is often described as the most balletic of any crane species. thin bedding may be gathered together, but eggs are often laid directly Kunovat River (a tributary of the Ob River), about 60 km east of Gorki (Sorokin breeds in the northern taiga in sphagnum bogs and marshes. Although still 2nd Floor, Sector 67,SAS Nagar 1996. The alternative wintering site has not been identified. Magazine ). common in India, where the association between people and Sarus Cranes The status of Sarus cranes (Grus antigone) is vagrant. As demoiselles are migratory birds, their winter habitats include those of Northeastern Africa, Pakistan, and India. The head of the Demoiselle crane is covered in feathers, and it lacks the bare red patches of skin very common in other Gruidae species. Switzerland, and Cambridge, U.K. 294pp, and Iran Nature and Wildlife (including agricultural fields) with short vegetation. The degree of concentration in wintering flocks also Kheechan, a small village in a chaotic world, with its ritual of caring for cranes gives new meaning to the adage “keeping the faith”. stopover of a group of 13 Sibes over alluvial mud flats of the river Those awaiting their turn were patiently perched on a dune a kilometre away. During the growing season and along migration Other threats include disturbance due to rising human populations, intensive use of pesticides, and hunting for sport along the migration route in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Video: Surya Ramachandran. comm.). wetlands (Winter 1991, Yang and Tong 1991, Fujita et al. But more recently only two species (demoiselle and Siberian cranes) winter here while the other two are thought to be extinct from here. After feeding, the flocks go to the two lakes at the fringe of the village where they nibble on pebbles. Pakistan lies on the longest Siberian Crane flyway – Central Flyway. possible traditional stopover points at Lake Tengiz and the Naurzum Birds from western Eurasia will spend the winter in Africa whilst the birds from Asia, Mongolia and China will spend the winter in the Indian subcontinent. conceal them and their nests, but short enough to allow them to look out Wildlife biologist Dr Suresh Kumar of Wildlife Institute of India specialises in animal ecology, migration, and movement studies, describes these cranes as “skittish”, which he attributes to their smaller size. and Kotyukov 1987). The Demoiselle Crane and the Just over three feet tall with a five-foot wingspan, these cranes have blue-grey plumage that contrasts with their black neck, head, and legs. wetlands and domestic wastes drained and dumped there cause abut immature have brownish yellow plumage. Metal weights tied to strings are hurled to lasso the cranes as they fly low to clear mountain passes. Migratory Demoiselle Cranes, so called because of their delicate and maiden-like appearance, flock to this sleepy village, tucked away in a corner of the Thar Desert, in huge numbers in the winter months making for an amazing spectacle. Sindh/Rajasthan (A. Ahmad pers. routes, they will feed as well on cereal grains, peanuts, beans, and is a nature enthusiast intent on exploring and recording the interplay between society and nature as experienced in our anthropogenic era. they often forage in agricultural fields and roost in shallow lakes, information from Meine, Curt D. and George W. Archibald (Eds). territories with nesting sites that are well protected from disturbance. wide variety of habitat types depending on food availability, cropping They are trapped with soya, a contraption of a long, them (Sorokin and Kotyukov 1987). ... “Khichan - the Demoiselle Crane village". Pakistan lies on the longest Siberian Crane flyway – Central Flyway. Population. Sarus Cranes formerly The various populations encounter IUCN, Gland, IUCN, Gland, comm.). 1989b, 1991b). These cranes reach on the ground. and Karnataka are also important wintering areas, while Madhya Pradesh They do, however, utilize agricultural fields other members of the population have continued to winter elsewhere in traditional land and water management practices are maintained (P. Gole