Spring is the season when nature awakens after the long winter gap. But for Phobjikha, the dawn of spring also carries with it a certain degree of sadness. It is the season whereby the heavenly and majestic birds, the Black-necked Cranes leave the valley.
The first group of BNC, around 50 individuals, left the valley on February 27, 2018, to their summer/breeding habitats. Only three Black-necked Cranes (2 Juveniles and an adult) remain in Phobjikha valley as of today. Records show that the first cranes arrive in Bhutan in late October and the first group migrate to the north by February end. Most of the cranes arrive by December and leave by mid-March. During their time in Bhutan, more than four months, they forage in natural wetlands and harvested fields. Satellite telemetry studies of BNCs that winter in Bhutan indicated their breeding habitats which are spread the autonomous region of Tibet. There, they breed in wetlands and lakes and fly south towards the end of autumn to avoid the harsh winter months. A total of 626, including 77 juveniles, Black-necked Cranes were sighted in Bhutan this year, of which 504 were recorded in Phobjikha valley.