Migratory birds give Oussudu lake a miss this year

Participants at a recent bird watching and bird count programme. Special Arrangement   | Photo Credit: Handout_E_Mail

Birdwatchers have noted a significant dip in the migratory species of birds at the Oussudu lake, a biodiversity hotspot and important avian sanctuary on the Coromandal coast, this year.

“We were disappointed to observe that at least 20 commonly seen bird species were missing during the count. Last year, we sighted about 75 species while this year, the count which is still being tallied and finalised, is only around 55,” said Arun Nagalingam, organiser, Pongal Bird-Watching Programme 2020.

“Distressingly, we did not spot a single flamingo this year,” he said.

The birdwatching and Pongal Bird Count 2020 was hosted by various NGOs and environmentalists comprising Har Gobind Khorana Science Centre, Universal Eco Foundation and Senthamarai Foundation.

The event was part of a number of awareness campaigns aligned to various biodiversity and environmental conservative initiatives and activities, including a painting event for children.

The Oussudu lake, which has been notified as a wetland of national importance under the National Wetland Conservation Programme of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, and also declared one of the 93 significant wetlands in Asia by the Asian Wetland Bureau, is home to about 166 bird species.

Birdwatchers cite various reasons for several bird species skipping the wetland habitat, which range from increasing human presence in the area, development of roads, rise in traffic and depletion of fruit-bearing trees.

The bird watch and bird count initiative attracted more than 120 students from various schools and colleges. A group of experienced birders, environmentalists and ecologists led a sensitisation programme on the importance of the exercise and the important role of birds in the sustenance of the ecosystem.

Awareness session

They also took questions from participants with regard to birding and its importance on the ecological balance. An awareness session on the dire need to discard plastic from day-to-day usage and its hazardous impact on the environment and ecosystem was also explained.

A team led by environmentalist Bubesh Gupta displayed various charts, pamphlets and photographs with relevant details of variety of birds, their sounds, behaviour and lifestyle to emphasis their contribution to the balanced ecological system.

Balaji, founder of Senthamarai Foundation, presented the systematic procedure of birding and explained the detailed procedure that every participant should follow such as entering the details like name, photograph and the sound of any bird which is recorded and referred internationally. This record maintenance will be of immense importance for researchers on birds, their behaviour and their unique identifications for future references.

During the programme, participants observed various birds through special binoculars and recorded their sounds with microphone devices.

They later took a pledge to be birders and contribute towards registering the information of various birds wherever they travel in future. Some of the 53 species of birds commonly seen in Ossudu lake included Little Cormorant, Grey Pelican, Painted Stork, Open Billed Stork, White Ibis, Glossy Ibis, Pond Heron, Purple Swamp-Hen, Jacana and Kingfisher.

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Printable version | Jun 25, 2021 6:26:32 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/migratory-birds-give-oussudu-lake-a-miss-this-year/article30687192.ece

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