A total of 230 species of birds have been recorded in Sathyamangalam Forest Division in a bird survey.
The first ever bird survey in the division, funded jointly by Tamil Nadu Forest Department and Care Earth, a Chennai-based biodiversity research organisation, was taken up in Bhavanisagar, Sathyamangalam, Talavadi, T.N. Palayam and Hassanur Ranges.
S. Chandrasekaran, Life Member of the Bombay Natural History Society, who compiled the data and brought out a booklet in association with A. Kumaraguru, Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad, said that 15 camps were pitched in the Ranges. Nearly 75 birdwatchers, including Forest Department staff, were engaged in the survey.
Raptors, a good indicator
Analysing the data, Mr. Chandrasekaran said the highest diversity of 95 and 93 species was recorded in Chikkalli and Talamalai. Of the total species, 14 per cent were raptors, which was a good indicator of the state of the eco-system. A greater concentration of raptors was recorded in Vilamundi, Sujjalkuttai, Mangalapati and Goolithuraipatti in Bhavanisagar Range, which is a riverine and dry scrub / thorny forests of low lands, he said.
Apart from the survey, the team made suggestions, which included upgrading the forests as critical wildlife zones to conserve endangered mammals and birds; proper scientific studies to be undertaken for a viable and pragmatic management plan for conservation of various species.
A bird survey once in one and a half years as done by renowned ornithologist Salim Ali, taking up a long-term study on vultures in this region, providing alternative job opportunities to forest dwellers in tune with conservation priorities and removing invasive species of flora from this area to protect the Savannah type forests, were some of the other recommendations made by the team.