Bar-headed goose makes long journey for the winter

A bar-headed goose with a neck collar, spotted in Koonthankulam bird reserve in Tirunelveli district, has flown in all the way from Mongolia.The adult female, wintering at Kaadankulam pond, was spotted by Nagercoil-based school teacher and environmental educator S.S. Davidson, during his routine visit to the bird reserve.

The collar was bright orange with the English letter ‘S’ and number ‘6’ written on it, visible in the photo. Mr Davidson wrote to ornithologists in other countries seeking information about the bird.

On Wednesday, he received a mail from Robert L. Thomson, Section of Ecology, Department of Biology, University of Turku, Finland, confirming its origin and the date of collaring.

According to Dr Thomson, the bird was collared on July 10, 2009, in the Darkhad valley of Huvsgul province in northern (and slightly western) Mongolia.

“We have had previous sightings of this individual. In December 2010, she was wintering at Magadi Tank in Karnataka province. Later in the same season she was seen at Devi Kere lake, Ratnapuri, in Karnataka,” Dr Thomsan said in his email response.

The bar-headed goose is one of the world’s highest flying birds, capable of reaching 29,000 feet.