30-feet-wide wingspan model of an eagle erected right in the middle of the rocky outcrop is the reason for decrease in numbers of birds in park! The eagle is used as a ‘bird scarcer’ device in agricultural lands abroad to save the crops from birds. I. It is sarcastic that we must have the same for decorative purposes in a place designated for conservation of birds. The garden department of PCMC constructed jogging tracks, bird watching facilities, propped up models of parrots and an owl on the bamboo gates, and created an artificial beach spread out over 3,500 square meters. The eagle was the last straw. Vikas Patil, environmental activist and a member of the State Government’s Paryavaran Sanvardhan Samit said that once it was decided that this was to be a bird valley; there was no need to turn it into a place for entertainment. There is also Skating rink, an amphitheatre and high-voltage lights around the lake. Due to the blazing 24-hour lighting, the birds cannot build their nests around the lake. Hence this place has now an active tourist spot. Mr. Patil also adds that this is an example of how a project should not be and how unaware we are about preserving the environment despite spending crores of rupees.
Valley used to be home to black and white storks, grey herons, egrets, water hens, flamingos, painted storks, Crows, sparrows, parrots, pigeons, cuckoos, kites and kingfisher— each species flocking here in thousands till three years ago. Today, you can barely see 10 crows here in a day and the migratory birds that used to flock here between October and January were missing in the last season. The bushes surrounding the lake also housed the birds’ eggs and nests. Three years ago the place was full of migratory birds. But since the renovation, everything has vanished. There are no indigenous trees around the lake either.
Sanjay Kulkarni, executive engineer, who heads PCMC’s environment cell, said that these are just rumors. He doesn’t care what activists and other people have to say. He has sometimes seen a bird wandering around the model of the eagle. The high voltage lights are important for security and lack of space has prevented us from planting trees.