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Pelican brief

MARIANNE DE NAZARETH
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Nature Pelicans have arrived in many of Bangalore’s lakes. Get out your binoculars

Massive wing spansPelicanPhoto: PTI
Massive wing spansPelicanPhoto: PTI

Pelicans are creating excitement in Bangalore, being spotted at various lakes in the city.

The rather large bird that very interestingly uses its beak with its attached pouch like a tea strainer, scooping up the fish from the water around it has enticed many birdwatchers this season.

Sunil Kinger, who lives on Sarjapur Outer Ring Road says, “For the last five days, there are more than 100 pelicans at Agara Lake.

They are spotted there only till 11-ish and they move elsewhere after that. My family is full of keen birdwatchers and we take short breaks and go out bird watching as all of us enjoy this hobby.” Birders are excited, as the pelicans can be seen in most of the lakes in the city. “I’ve spotted many pelicans in Hebbal Lake, Lalbagh Lake, Madiwala Lake,” shares Prabu Shundarrem, a software engineer.

These magnificent birds were found in large numbers earlier, but urban encroachment of their habitat, drying out of lakes, loss of feeding grounds, has caused a drastic fall in their numbers and destruction of their natural colonies.

Shares Sharmila Abdulpurkar: “I went to Jakkur Lake to check out the birds and it was a great surprise to see a couple of pelicans on the lake. The residents of the surroundings of Jakkur Lake are making an effort to conserve the lake, which will probably bring in lots of more birds into the area.”

The pelican’s primary diet is fish and since they are large birds with massive wing spans, their presence in the city are a great photo opportunity.

The use of chemicals and the unchecked flow of sewage and pollutants into the water bodies were the cause of large depletion of their numbers over the years.

Naveein O.C., an avid birder said he drove past Agara Lake one morning and could confirm sighting of more than 75 spot-billed pelicans. And Vidhya Sundar, another birder, has spotted large numbers on Madiwala Lake along with painted storks.

All the bird lovers are happy to see these beautiful birds right in Bangalore city and so close home.

And what they urge is that the city authorities should take up cleaning of the lakes, which will help in the multiplication of fish, which attract these birds.

Seepage of raw sewage and industrial effluents into the lakes around the city should be totally banned.

And people should be educated not to feed the birds with human food waste.

MARIANNE DE NAZARETH

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