Installation of artificial nest boxes for the conservation of cavity and hole nesting birds in Islamabad, Pakistan

Grey birds in treetops

Pakistan, identified as the fifth-most climate-vulnerable country globally, faces severe climate challenges, with the capital city of Islamabad experiencing significant temperature increases and extreme weather events. The city's average temperature rose by 5.4°F between 1961 and 1990 and is projected to increase further. This has led to unprecedented rainfall events and extreme temperatures, exacerbated by urbanization and the urban heat island effect. As a result, incidents of fires have increased, particularly affecting the Margalla Hills National Park, which is rich in biodiversity.

These climate impacts are significantly affecting birds in the region who rely on holes and cavities for nesting, including woodpeckers, owls, robins, and parakeets. These birds lay their eggs inside cavities or holes that they find in trees, riverbanks, rocks, or human-made structures, offering protection from predators and weather. As these habitats become more degraded by weather and climate events, the survival of hole and cavity nesting birds is jeopardized.

To address these challenges, with support from the Wildlife Adaptation Innovation Fund, WWF-Pakistan is installing 500 artificial nest boxes across urban, suburban, and forested areas in and around Islamabad and Margalla Hills. These nest boxes will provide safe nesting spaces for cavity and hole nesting birds by protecting them against habitat destruction caused by climate-induced forest fires and extreme weather events. The nest boxes will be monitored biweekly by the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board, wildlife rangers, and local university students to assess occupancy and breeding success.