Driving through Moyar and the adjoining areas such as Masinagudy and the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, one should not be taken aback or distracted if something colourful flies past. Instead, one should anticipate it as the multicoloured Emerald dove, the state bird of Tamil Nadu, which, of late, has become a common sight in this area.
Effective conservation efforts and favourable weather leading to a healthy habitat are stated to be among the contributory factors that have helped these birds to flourish.
Speaking to The Hindu here on Monday, Conservationist and wildlife photographer P. J. Vasanthan said that the Emerald dove earlier known as the Bronze-winged dove has always been hard to spot due to its shy and withdrawn habits and the colour that matches the canopy in which it dwells. The birds are now seen in large numbers around Moyar and its surroundings due to the easy availability of food, he said.
The plumage, according to the conservationist, is quite brilliant for this time of the year. He added that most of the animals and birds in the area are wearing a sleek and glossy look due to the food availability.
A strict forest dweller, the Emerald dove is part of all the wooded areas of the district with higher population densities in the warmer foothills.
Unlike other generalists, these birds do not seem to feed on exotics but on fallen seeds and berries. Thus, it is instrumental in seed dispersal of many endemic plant species.
Though listed under ‘Least Concern’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), its immediate threat is illegal trapping as its flesh is considered to be a folk cure for rheumatism.