Rain breathes new life into bird sanctuary

Rain breathes fresh life into Mileyha wetland in the southern province of Hatay, which was on the verge of extinction in the summer months due to sweltering heat, teeming with birds once again. 

As the air temperature, exacerbated by the weather phenomenon El Niño, reached 50 degrees Celsius during the summer months in Hatay, making it the driest summer season in recent years, the region's wetlands faced drought and a threat of extinction.

The Mileyha wetland - Türkiye's longest coast spanning 14 kilometers along Samandağ shore and home to 304 bird species - started to turn dry amid extreme temperatures.

The wetland, where migratory birds passed tangentially this year, has filled up again due to the rains in recent days. Birdwatchers were most happy to see birds flocking to the area again.

Bird watcher Erol Yüksek stated that the region had come to the point of drying up in the summer and said, "I have been photographing birds with great pleasure for three years. The weather was incredibly dry in the summer."

"Last year, Miheyla wetland was at a good level due to rainfall in May and June. This summer was incredibly dry, with water almost depleted. This was a difficult time for the birds," Yüksek said.

"While the rainfall that started in November was insufficient, the rainfall in recent days has restored this place incredibly well. Thousands of ducks have returned," he added.

"The migration continues here. I am extremely happy, this is a bird sanctuary, and this much rain is very good for these creatures," he concluded.

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