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Will the birds fly away?

This season, the water level in Vedanthangal tank has depleted drastically due to water being released for irrigation without retaining the bare minimum level. Photo: D. Gopalakrishnan

This season, the water level in Vedanthangal tank has depleted drastically due to water being released for irrigation without retaining the bare minimum level. Photo: D. Gopalakrishnan   | Photo Credit: D_GOPALAKRISHNAN

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Good northeast monsoon holds the key to nesting and breeding of migratory birds at the sanctuary

Is this going to be a good season for migratory birds at Vedanthangal bird sanctuary? Everything hinges on the northeast monsoon.

The last three years have been good for nesting, said ornithologists. Last year, thanks to a depression over the Bay of Bengal in November and, subsequently, a very severe cyclonic storm, ‘Madi’, there was good rainfall in Kancheepuram district. It received 808 mm of rain, while the average is 1,161 mm.

Similarly, during the 2011-12 bird breeding season, cyclone ‘Nilam’, which made landfall at Mamallapuram on October 31, and moved in a north-westward direction, brought much-needed replenishment to the sanctuary, and the district recorded an annual rainfall of 795 mm.

The previous monsoon season, the district had recorded 1,233 mm of rainfall over and above the average annual rainfall, as both the southwest and northeast monsoons brought copious rainfall, according to officials.

However, this season, the water level in Vedanthangal tank has depleted drastically due to water being released for irrigation without retaining the bare minimum level, alleged a resident.

“When we were young, we cultivated paddy using the tank water, rich in bird droppings. At the same time, the minimum water level would be maintained,” he said.

Locals said the spurt in agricultural, industrial and real estate activities around Vedanthangal are hurdles to realisation of rainwater, and these impediments will eventually affect the very existence of the waterbody.

There is indeed brisk agriculture activity on the north and eastern sides of the tank which serve as the catchment area, and some construction activity on the southern side adjacent to the tank’s open sluice.

Meanwhile, a Chennai-based naturalist, Thirunaranan, has called for declaring Vedanthangal an eco-sensitive zone. He said the Pulicat Bird Sanctuary had benefited from such measures initiated by the Andhra Pradesh government to conserve and protect the area.

Another ornithologist said the efforts taken to revive the water inlet channels to source water from Uthiramerur tank via Kattiyampandal and Vellaputhur tanks to Vedanthangal would bear fruit only if Cheyyar region receives copious rain.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2020 7:20:00 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/chen-society/good-northeast-monsoon-holds-the-key-to-nesting-and-breeding-of-migratory-birds-at-the-sanctuary/article6578754.ece

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