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Perunkulam teeming with birds

Praveen Paul Joseph
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Owing to availability of water in summer and abundant and diverse prey

sight to behold:Birds flocking to the Sivagalai pond in Tuticorin district.— Photo: N. Rajesh
sight to behold:Birds flocking to the Sivagalai pond in Tuticorin district.— Photo: N. Rajesh

Perunkulam, a large pond in a small village in Tuticorin district, is teeming with birds.

Since early November, these migratory birds have been flocking to this tank owing to availability of water in summer and abundant and diverse prey. This place has ample potential to be developed as a tourism destination with the provision of boat service and other facilities for the visitors.

Over 40,000 migratory and inland birds were sighted from December 2013 to April 2014 in a survey conducted by research scholars from the Department of Zoology of Aditanar College of Arts and Science at Tiruchendur.

According to Zoology Professor G. Lakshmanan, these birds mainly feed on fish, prawns, aquatic insects and molluscs.

He said a spectacular scene of a flamingo with white and pink wings, pink beak and legs feeding in shallow waters was sighted by the survey team. A large-billed grey pelican with gular pouch and a number of ducks and cormorants were also sighted.

Spot-billed pelican, grey pelican from Australia, spotted green shank, spoon bill sandpiper, painted storks from Siberia and Myanmar, little egrets, grey egrets, night herons, pond herons, grey herons, common moorhens and purple moorhens, geese and swan were other birds that frequent the waterbody, Dr. Lakshmanan said.

He said the water body was rich in nitrogen owing to bird droppings.

Hence, farmers using this water for irrigation could achieve higher yield and save fertilizer cost.

The Forest Department could declare Perunkulam as a bird sanctuary, the professor added.

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