Kerala

Lockdown uncovers a birds’ haven in rail colony

Black-headed oriole  

The Southern Railway Colony at Hemambika Nagar near here is a haven for birds. But it took a pandemic and a lockdown for the railway officials to uncover that haven.

Dozens of bird species were identified and recorded in the Railway Colony during the lockdown, thanks to Divisional Railway Manager Pratap Singh Shami’s hobby in photography.

“The birds I found here are testimony to the general saying that Palakkad is one of the most beautiful divisions of the Indian Railways,” said Mr. Shami.

Indian grey hornbills

Indian grey hornbills  

 

Staff too

Mr. Shami introduced the concept of “backyard birding” among his staff as most of them got stuck at home during the lockdown. He said he was surprised to find so many beautiful birds perching on the trees around his bungalow.

According to M.K. Gopinath, Palakkad Railway Division’s public relations officer, more than five dozen species could be identified and photographed during the lockdown. “We were surprised to find so many varieties of birds,” he said.

Main residents

Among them were Indian grey hornbills, Asian koels, black-headed and golden orioles, different types of myna and bulbul, purple-rumped sunbird, rufous treepies, sparrows, many types of kites and hawks including marsh harrier and shikra, varieties of drongos, bee-eaters, herons, egrets, owls, nightjars, woodpeckers, parrots, peacocks and babblers.

Using his Nikon P-1000 super-telephoto amateur camera, Mr. Shami shot several dozens of them from his house. “I did not have to even go out of my house to find such a great variety. Describing this place a mere haven for birds will be an understatement,” he said, playing the video of the birds he chronicled.

Admitting that he was neither a serious birdwatcher nor a photographer, Mr. Shami said the birds helped him develop a fresh interest in nature and photography.

Mr. Shami said Palakkad used to be widely appreciated as a beautiful division in Railways. “It is like living in a green mansion with colourful birds playing their mesmerising music all along,” he said.

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Printable version | Nov 25, 2020 10:31:10 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/lockdown-uncovers-a-birds-haven-in-rail-colony/article32919900.ece

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