Kochi still a haven for waterbirds

Pheasant-tailed Jacana sighted at a Kochi wetland.— PHOTO: BY SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT  

Braving challenges such as the loss of habitat due to reclamation, birds are thriving in the wetlands of Kochi.

The bird data generated during the recently concluded Asian Waterfowl Census in the district indicated that the wetlands supported a stable bird population despite the risks confronted by them.

The wetlands of Kadamakudy remained the favourite ground for the birds as revealed by the survey carried out by the Cochin Natural History Society, with the support of the Social Forestry Division of Kerala Forest Department.

Birders recorded the presence of 1,235 birds belonging to 61 species from the region. The presence of 144 species was recorded in eBird, a real-time, online checklist program on bird sightings.

Last year, the number of birds identified from the region stood at 764. The ones that were spotted during the 2015 survey included Indian Spot-billed Duck, Brown Headed Gull, Black Headed Gull, Eurasian Moorhen, Pacific Golden Plover and Wood Sandpiper, said K. Vishnupriyan Kartha, secretary of the Society.

The annual census takes place during the second and third week of January across the country.

This year, the major wetlands including Kadamakudy, Kalathara, Kandakkadavu, Devaswom Padam and Nedumbassery were covered by volunteers.

The Kalathara and Kandakkadavu wetlands together accounted for 3,831 birds this season.

The presence of birds in these wetlands seemed to have increased significantly when compared to previous year as 1,895 individual birds were counted in 2014. Nedumbassery wetlands, Okkal and Puthuvypeen were also found to be preferred by a large number of waterbirds. Flocks of Lesser Whistling Duck, Little Cormorant, Northern Pintail and Indian Pond Heron were found in most of the surveyed locations, according to the survey report.

Analysis of the survey data indicated that the major wetland birds such as Little Egrets, Cattle Egrets, Intermediate Egrets, Great Egrets, Purple Heron, Grey Heron, White Breasted Water hen and Little Cormorants were present in almost all the wetlands. Brahmany Kite, Kingfishers and Common Sandpipers were also spotted in the wetlands.

The wetlands of the district were facing threats due to dumping of waste, illegal reclamation and flow of waste water into them, said Mr. Kartha.

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Printable version | Jun 11, 2021 1:39:48 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/kochi-still-a-haven-for-waterbirds/article7124707.ece

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