The number of migratory birds, especially flamingos and painted storks, visiting Vaduvoor bird sanctuary in Tiruvarur district, has come down post cyclone Gaja.
According to the recent census carried out by the Forest Department, conservationists and volunteers recorded 114 species of birds in the sanctuary as against 138 last year.
As many as 23,687 birds were counted during the annual synchronized bird census recently. It was 29,284 last year.
Ruff, spot billed duck, pin tailed duck, cotton teal and black headed ibis were among the migratory birds recorded during the census. Several of them had flown down to Vaduvoor from far away countries and continents including Siberia, Kazakhstan and Central Asian countries.
But, the species and bird count is less than the last year.
Flamingos, painted storks and bar headed goose would never miss the nesting season to visit Vaduvoor sanctuary. It was during the same period in the last year, conservationists recorded about 300 flamingos and 500 painted storks. The current season, which began in the last week of November, is about to come to an end. But, not even a single flamingo has come to the sanctuary still now.
“It is really a disappointment to see the trees in the lake without flamingos and painted storks perching on them. It is a rare phenomenon. It could be due to the impact of cyclone Gaja,” said A. Kumaraguru, founder Director, Biodiversity Conservation Foundation, Tiruchi.
He said that the cyclone could have disturbed the ecosystem of nesting and breeding grounds of the winged visitors. Branches of trees were the nesting grounds for them. But, several branches have fallen during the cyclone.
M. Ramasubramaniam, Conservator of Forests, Thanjavur circle, told The Hindu that it was originally feared that the visit of migratory birds would not be much this year due to cyclone. In spite of it, more than 20,000 migratory birds including ruff, common teal, northern pintail and spot billed duck had come to the Vaduvoor sanctuary. Though the overall arrival was less than the last year, the arrival did not dampen the spirit.
The Conservator said that the cyclone had taken a toll on the number of trees in the sanctuary. There was a need to take a number of steps to create nesting grounds in it. A short and long term plan would be devised soon so as to attract more winged visitors.