Decline in number of migratory birds at Nanjarayan tank

Four bar-headed geese, which breeds in Central Asia, are seen amid the high water level at the Nanjarayan tank near Tiruppur on Wednesday.  

Birdwatchers expressed concern over the sharp decline in the number of migratory birds that visit the Nanjarayan tank, in the outskirts of Tiruppur, between December and March every year.

According to K. Ravindran, president of the Nature Society of Tiruppur (NST), who has been documenting the arrival of birds at the tank, waders (birds that are found along shorelines and mudflats) and ducks from various parts of India and the world have particularly declined this year. “In November 2020, we recorded around 85 garganeys that come from Europe. However, no garganey was spotted this time,” he said on Wednesday.

Similarly, around 45 northern shovelers, another migratory bird that breeds in Europe, was recorded in November last year, but only five was observed during a recent enumeration of birds done by the NST team at Nanjarayan tank. The number of common sandpipers also dipped sharply from 51 last year to three this year, according to Mr. Ravindran.

One possible reason for this sharp decline could be the rise in water level in the tank following the recent heavy rain, he said. With the mudflats being submerged, ducks like northern shovelers might not find the location conducive for roosting and waders like wood sandpipers, which prefer to walk in shallow waters, might be averse to high water level in the tank, according to Mr. Ravindran.

“The migratory birds might have landed elsewhere in the State. When the water levels reduce, it is likely that these birds will return [to Nanjarayan tank],” he said.

Expressing similar sentiments, birdwatcher S. Murugavel said that the Forest Department must also take steps to reduce human interference at Nanjarayan tank and urged the State government to declare the tank, which attracts a large number of migratory birds every year, as a bird sanctuary.

Sources in the Forest Department said that the officials have been conducting awareness programmes to the residents living near the Nanjarayan tank not to disturb the migratory birds. Regarding the demand for a bird sanctuary, the sources added that the details pertaining to the arrival of birds at Nanjarayan and Manickapuram tanks in Tiruppur district were recently sent to the top officials of the Forest Department for further action.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2022 4:16:39 PM |

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