No endangered ruddy duck recorded in Turkish wetland
During a bird counting effort held in Lake Burdur, Turkey’s seventh-largest lake whose surface has shrunk by 46 percent in the last 50 years, there was no trace of endangered ruddy duck.
Ruddy ducks became extinct in the region that once was a wintering ground for the species.
After having been conducting field works near the lake and its surroundings for consecutive 22 years, Lale Aktay Sözüer, a prominent ornithologist, said that there were no ruddy ducks in the wetland where thousands of them were observed in previous years.
“Lake Burdur is one of the first wetlands in Turkey that have a protected area status under the Ramsar Convention. One of the most important factors in gaining this status was the ruddy duck,” she said, adding that 70 percent of the bird population overwintered in the region until recently.
“We can no longer record the ducktail in any of them,” Sözüer said, noting that there were 18 individuals only in 2019 and that one or two pairs were seen during the breeding season in freshwater lakes in the region.
The expert stressed that the water level of the lake has decreased by around 18 meters in the last 50 years.
“This affects all species and lives in the lake,” Sözüer said.
The lake faces an existential threat due to climate change as there are fears the annual replenishing precipitation may no longer maintain the basin’s water levels.
Low rainfall and illegal irrigation also were blamed for drying up other lakes in the region, located in Turkey’s southwest.