"Over one lakh birds have already arrived from various places like Siberia, China and Japan as the temperature in these countries has fallen, Abdul Rauf Zargar, Wildlife Warden at Hokersar wetland, told PTI.
He said the number of birds arriving this year is expected to cross the nearly seven lakh arrivals registered last year.
"We are witnessing arrival of more birds than we used to have at this time of the year," Zargar said.
He said the department is setting up over a dozen watch towers as there are apprehensions that poachers might target the birds as they have arrived earlier than expected. Special squads will also be formed to check poachers in the area.
Thousands of migratory birds from Russian Siberia, the Phillipines, eastern Europe, China and Japan fly long distances to escape extreme winter conditions in their summer habitats and search for food.
They stop in Kashmir for nearly a month before they fly further south as the temperature in the valley dips below freezing point by mid-December. The birds start their return leg of their voyage by end of January.
Besides Hokersar, the migratory birds flock the Wullar lake and other wetlands like Hygam, Shalibugh and Mirgund in surrounding areas, bringing cheer to bird watchers of the valley. (MORE)