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Updated: June 1, 2010 12:15 IST

Rising mercury sends birds reeling

Nivedita Ganguly
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A red wattled lapwing on the lookout for food in the mushy waters of a pond near the airport in Visakhapatnam. Photo: K.R. Deepak.
The Hindu
A red wattled lapwing on the lookout for food in the mushy waters of a pond near the airport in Visakhapatnam. Photo: K.R. Deepak.

Rising temperatures and the drying up of water bodies this summer has had a harsh impact on the avian population of the region.

The city has a rich avian population that thrives near water bodies in the small patches of green areas. Places like Kambalakonda Eco-Tourism Park, Bio-diversity Park and water bodies near the airport and Thotlakonda attract good number of bird species. Environmentalists and research workers say the rise in temperatures has affected the population of birds in more ways than one.

“Climate change and global warming are the effect of man's interference with nature and massive deforestation. Rising temperatures affects flora and fauna of the region and induces physiological as well as behavioural changes in the animals and birds,” said B. Bharatha Lakshmi of Department of Zoology, Andhra University.

Water bodies drying up

The resident bird population of the region comprises species like hornbills, brahminy ducks, kingfishers, lapwings, stilts, mynas, woodpeckers, wagtails, torks, egrets and storks. Prof. Lakshmi said the drying up of water bodies and lack of food leads to migration of birds.

“Water is life line for birds and animals. Non-availability of food also affects the breeding cycle and in turn severely impacts the population of important species,” she said. The main food for raptors birds like eagles is fish.

But with water levels dipping in ponds and lakes in the surrounding areas of the region, raptors have to struggle for food.

Many roosting areas of birds have been disturbed due to deforestation and human disturbances.

“The only way to reverse this trend was to create public awareness, promote water harvesting methods, plantation drives and usage of solar power. It is time to implement such technologies for water conservation and afforestation. Student communities should be encouraged to take active part in plantation drives. Unless proper measures are taken, many common bird species will become extinct,” she added.

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