Madurai

Migratory birds start arriving in sanctuaries

Migratory birds such as Painted stork, Open bill stork, Spot billed pelican have started arriving in bird sanctuaries in Ramanathapuram district.

Migratory birds such as Painted stork, Open bill stork, Spot billed pelican have started arriving in bird sanctuaries in Ramanathapuram district.  

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Thethengal bird sanctuary appears to be the favourite destination for the winged visitors

The widespread heavy rain since the onset of northeast monsoon on October 17 has brought cheer to indigenous and winter migratory birds as well as they have started flocking to the five bird sanctuaries in Ramnathapuram district.

Thethengal bird sanctuary, which received copious inflow of water, appears to be the most preferred destination for the birds as it has already attracted more than 2,000 of them.

The winged visitors have started nesting, forest officials say.

After several years, the water level is good in all five bird sanctuaries — Thethangal, Kanjirankulam, Chitrangudi, Melaselvanoor/Keelaselvanoor and Sakkarakottai — as the Forest department desilted the water storage areas along bunds and created baby ponds, ahead of the onset of the northeast monsoon.

“After several years, there is good amount of water in all sanctuaries and we are expecting a good number of birds this season,” officials say.

Migratory birds such as painted stork, open bill stork, spot billed pelican, spoon billed stork, grey heron, black ibis and white ibis have already started visiting the sanctuaries, they add.

The birds have come from Eastern Russia and Central Asian countries for nesting and breeding. Initial observation reveals that they prefer tall and old babul and prosophis trees for nesting. They are expected to stay until March next.

The first batch of migratory birds visited Thethangal sanctuary during the middle of October. Indigenous species such as Little Egrets and Cormorant also flocked to the sanctuaries. They surveyed Kanjirankulam, Melaselvanoor/Keelaselvanoor and Chitrangudi sanctuaries, which remains dry for several years, before settling down.

The birds also surveyed the foraging areas for the feed. “It appears that they are taking stock of the situation before settling down,” the officials point out.

The Sakkarakottai sanctuary on the outskirts of the town is yet to receive the birds.

The district has been the most preferred destination for the winged visitors for several years for the reason that people living around the sanctuaries are friendly and kind to the birds.

Except for bird hunters, they face no threat from predators. The birds will also enjoy their stay during the season as paddy cultivation has taken place throughout the district.

Foresters and watchers have booked at least 15 persons during the last one month on charges of hunting the colourful Indian Pitta and Little Stilt and collected a total fine amount of ₹1.18 lakh from them.

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Printable version | Dec 12, 2019 9:49:18 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/migratory-birds-start-arriving-in-sanctuaries/article29880705.ece

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