THRISSUR: A bird survey at two wildlife sanctuaries in central Kerala has added 32 new species to the list of birds found in the area.
Ornithologist P.O. Nameer of the Department of Wildlife Sciences, College of Forestry, Kerala Agricultural University, who was the coordinator of the project, told The Hindu here that the survey added 20 new species to the list of birds found in the Peechi-Vazhani Wildlife Sanctuary and 12 to the list of Chimmoni Wildlife Sanctuary. Thus, the total number of bird species went up to 206 in Peechi-Vazhani forests and 189 in Chimmoni forests.
The earlier bird surveys in the sanctuaries were done in 1991 (Peechi) and 1992 (Chimmoni), Dr. Nameer said. The latest survey, organised jointly by the Forest Department and the Nature Education Society Thrissur (NEST), was held from November 10 to 13. The most significant finding of the survey was the sighting of Lesser Fish Eagle, which until recently was known to have been spotted only at the foothills of the Himalayas. The bird was sighted at both Peechi and Chimmoni sanctuaries during the survey.
Lesser Fish Eagle was spotted at Parambikulam wildlife sanctuary last month by Dr. Nameer, which was the first sighting of the bird in Kerala. The sighting of the birds at Peechi and Chimmoni sanctuaries is probably the second report of their spotting in the State. The present finding has a special significance as it goes to establish that the three contiguous wildlife sanctuaries in central Kerala, Peechi-Vazhani, Chimmoni and Parambikulam sanctuaries, are acting as an important conservation zone for this globally threatened species of Eagle. Apart from Lesser Fish Eagle, other significant sightings included Large Hawk Cuckoo, Broad-billed Roller, House Martin and Ashy Minivet. Of this the first three were sighted at Chimmoni while Ashy Minivet was sighted at Peechi.