Decline in bird arrival at Point Calimere

A sharp decline in arrival of birds at Point Calimere (Kodiakarai) Wildlife Sanctuary this season has confirmed the worst fears of environmentalists that the loss of green cover caused by the Gaja cyclone will cause diversion of migratory path of winged visitors.

Out of hundreds of bird species that used to flock the natural habitat, flamingoes that usually arrive during October were conspicuous by their absence, said S. Balachandran, Deputy Director, Bombay Natural History Society, which houses the Bird Migration Study Centre.

Last year, a minimum of one lakh birds perished in the cyclone.

A fall in the number of birds setting foot at Kodiakarai this year was along expected lines.

The regrettable factor is obstruction caused in flow of water from the Cauvery to tail-end areas.

Fresh water and sea water were vital for the wetland. This time around, the wetland is depicting signs of desertification as paths for entry of both sea water and fresh water are blocked.

Also, the forest canopy is gone. It is highly probable that the birds had skirted Point Calimere in their route towards Sri Lanka, he said.

The Vedaranyam salt swamp, the largest in Tamil Nadu, that runs 7 to 8 km wide to a length of 48 km along the coast from Point Calimere, is one of the richest regions of biodiversity in the country.

Nagapattinam region receives rain under the influence of both southwest and northeast monsoons. Despite the recent spell of rainfall, the lagoon system has not surfaced as yet due to absence of water flow in tail-end areas of the Cauvery and its tributaries.

The migratory birds depend on prey in wet paddy fields and puddles of fresh water in the buffer zone.

The scale of natural disaster was indeed huge and no extent of human intervention can restore the natural significance of Kodiakarai for migratory birds.

But if the obstruction of Cauvery water to the tail-end areas continue, the wetland would soon go dry, he cautioned.


However, a senior official of Forest Department said it is too early to rule out arrival of birds.

The fallen trees have sprouted with greenery of about one metre height. There is time till December for the birds to arrive in large numbers, the official said.

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Printable version | May 10, 2021 1:05:31 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/decline-in-bird-arrival-at-point-calimere/article29902359.ece

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