Madurai

80% fall in arrival of birds to wetlands

STAYING AWAY: Some of the waterbirds spotted at a wetland during the Tamirabharani Waterbird Count organised recently in Tirunelveli and Thoothukudi districts.   | Photo Credit: HANDOUT;HANDOUT

There is a drop of over 80% in the arrival of birds in the wake of failure of northeast monsoon, it was found through the 7th edition of Tamirabharani Waterbird Count which was conducted in the wetlands of Tirunelveli and Thoothukudi districts between February 3 and 7.

Agasthyamalai Community Conservation Centre (ACCC), Manimutharu, joined hands with Pearl City Nature Society (PCNS), Thoothukudi, and Nellai Nature Club (NNC), Tirunelveli, to conduct the waterbird count this year. Fifty-five volunteers, in five teams, observed bird population in the wetlands in the two districts.

As most of the wetlands were dry due to failure of northeast monsoon, only a few birds could be sighted. The volunteers also visited Manimutharu and Gadana dams and wetlands that had water. In all 47 wetlands were covered for the count.

Over 8,000 birds belonging to 57 species were recorded in 47 wetlands, over 2,000 birds belonging to 21 species were spotted in Manimutharu dam. In Alwarkurichi pond, around 1,500 birds belonging to 30 species and over 700 birds belonging to 30 species were recorded in Puthantharuvai pond, a statement from ACCC said.

Around 4,000 ducks followed by 1,300 egrets and over 1,000 plovers were recorded. The large wetlands in Srivaikundam region that used to harbour thousands of migratory ducks such as European pigeon and Pintails had only 571 birds in 12 tanks. The water stored in the Alwarkurichi tank, released from Gadana dam in order to carry out repairing works of shutter, was also full and had attracted migratory and resident ducks. This shows that the small tanks with enough water could also host a good number of birds, the statement added.

“Invasive plants have encroached many wetlands. De-silting has not been done in any tank. Moreover, the tanks are used for dumping garbage and wastes. Loads of plastics dumped in Nainarkulam in Tirunelveli has made it inhabitable for birds. We also found empty liquor bottles - many broken, use and throw plastic tumblers, water pockets etc., in the tanks. Birds, fish, turtles and other aquatic animals may feed on pieces of broken bottles and plastics which pose threat to their life. We urge the government departments to take action to conserve the water bodies. Public should treat these wetlands as sacred places which can ensure water resource for our future generations,” said M. Mathivanan, Coordinator, ACCC.

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2021 3:31:31 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/80-fall-in-arrival-of-birds-to-wetlands/article17307861.ece

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