"Mumbai Embraces Its Booming Flamingo Population"

"Despite pressure from development, flamingos seem to be thriving on the shores of one of the world’s most populous cities, and local people are becoming protective of the birds and their habitat."

"It is not yet 8:00 a.m., and the sun is already fierce on a small rowboat anchored a kilometer from the eastern banks of Thane Creek, an inlet separating the island city of Mumbai from the Indian mainland. A yellow cloth used as a reference point for scientists flutters in the line of mangroves along the shore. Behind the trees, tall buildings shimmer in a haze of pollution; in front of them, thousands of flamingos are gathering, flying in from nearby roosting sites. As the sun ascends, the tidal water in the creek’s lower reaches ebbs, exposing the mudflats that are the flamingos’ feeding grounds. The army of pink advances.

In the boat, Mrugank Prabhu unpacks his camera, sets up his telescope, and begins his count.

Prabhu is a scientist with the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), a 139-year-old organization involved in conservation and biodiversity research across India, which is leading an ambitious 10-year-long study to monitor a unique phenomenon. Every winter, thousands of greater and lesser flamingos fly into Mumbai, forming a sea of pink against a backdrop of skyscrapers, bridges, and oil refineries along the 26-kilometer-long Thane Creek. The seasonal gathering is a source of wonder in Mumbai, and also a bit of a mystery."

Vaishnavi Chandrashekhar reports for Hakai magazine December 6, 2022.

Source: Hakai, 12/07/2022