Karthik Madhavan

ERODE: Nature lovers and bird-watchers have good news from the skies: the Vellode Bird Sanctuary has new winged visitors this season. And some are from as far away as Antarctica.

Erode District Forest Officer P. Jaganathan told The Hindu that the great white pelican, the garganey, the little stint and the temnick stint were the new visitors. Their presence at the 77.18-ha sanctuary came to light when the department carried out a census.

Acting on an order from the State government, the department carried out a State-wide census on January 23. Four teams comprising forest rangers, guards, anti-poaching watchers and others carried out the operation from 5.30 a.m. to 8.30 a.m. to monitor birds flying out, and from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. to look for birds flying in.

Erode Forest Ranger U.K.T. Nagasundaram said that between 8.30 a.m. and 4 p.m. the teams went inside the sanctuary to look for resident birds and the young ones in nests. “In all, the teams recorded 90 species of birds,” he said. “The total number at the census stood at 32,892.”

The census revealed that the cattle egret is the most common bird in the sanctuary, followed by the house swallow, the common swallow, the black-crowned night heron, the little cormorant and other species. The department has made bird-watching arrangements at the old watchtower and constructing a new one.

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