Kerala

Nooranad becomes hub of avian beauties

A pond heron spotted at Nooranad.  

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic-induced pain and suffering, there is palpable excitement among villagers and birdwatchers at Nooranad, best known as ‘pakshi gramam’ (bird village).

According to villagers, a good number of avian beauties, mostly resident birds, nest and breed at Nooranad and nearby areas this season. A jackfruit tree in the compound of V. Rajendran hosts six nests of pond herons. “Initially there was a single nest. But the number has risen to six in recent days. Although bird droppings are an annoyance, it is important to protect them. We are eagerly awaiting to see chicks,” Mr. Rajendran says. Apart from pond heron, intermediate egret, little cormorant, darter are among the bird species nesting and breeding in and around Nooranad nowadays, albeit in fewer numbers compared to past years.

1987 survey

The place first came to the limelight in 1987 when birdwatcher P.K. Uthaman conducted a survey and spotted 10,000 birds. “At that time, there were a large number of trees in the area. During the survey, Mr. Uthaman spotted great egret and intermediate egret in Nooranad for the first time in Kerala. The sightings and a report on the survey were published in a journal of the Bombay Natural History Society and Nooranad came to be known as bird village,” says C. Rahim, journalist and conservationist. A survey conducted by Mr. Rahim in 2012 spotted 750 darters in 32 trees in Athikkattukulangara. It was described as the largest colony of darters to be spotted in the entire country. However, he says the number of birds nesting at Nooranad has come down over the years. “Compared to 1987, there is a drastic decline in nesting of birds in Nooranad. This can be attributed to fewer number of trees, climate change, and human interventions. The chopping and uprooting of trees at Nooranad in the past years have created satellite heronries in nearby Karakulam, Kattanam, and Pandalam,” he says.

Gramasree Nature Club, a Nooranad-based environmental group, has urged the government to declare Nooranad and nearby areas as a bird sanctuary.

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Printable version | May 15, 2021 9:17:54 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/nooranad-becomes-hub-of-avian-beauties/article32016449.ece

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