Sighting peafowl here and there in the district has become quite common of late and this could be attributed to its growing population. People of the district are treated to a wonderful spectacle especially when the male bird peacock opens up its plume spreading beauty.
The term “peacock” is commonly used to refer to birds of both sexes.
Technically, only the males are peacocks and females are peahens, and together they are called peafowl. These ground-feeders that eat insects, plants and small creatures are in two familiar peacock species. The blue peacocks live in India and Sri Lanka, while the green peacock is found in Java and Myanmar, according to wildlife experts. Earlier they used to live in hilly areas surrounded by water bodies, but of late they are venturing into other habitats too. Increase in awareness among rural folk over the severity of punishment in the Wildlife Act and compassion on them helped the spread of the species in the district, said Sub-Divisional Forest Officer, J. Gopal. Though there are no exact statistics of the peafowl population with the Forest Department as census for birds is not conducted its population doubled over a period of time. Surprisingly, population of sparrows which is considered an endangered bird species is also on the rise in the district, he said.
Mr. Ashok, an ardent bird watcher says that there could be over 50,000 peacocks in the district. Till a few years ago poachers used to hunt them indiscriminately. Though this practice stopped to a large extent, the use of pesticide and fertilizer has become bane to these beautiful birds as dozens of birds collapse after consuming poisoned water in paddy fields, he says.
This danger happens often during paddy transplantation and weeding times. Only few such incidents are reported in the media and many go unnoticed, he deplores. Moreover there are a number of bird and wildlife eaters. At a place just outside the town, sale of monitor lizards (udumulu in local parlance) and rabbits is a common sight, he adds.
Expressing happiness over the enormous increase in number of peacocks Mr. Ashok said in just two to two and a half years its population doubled.