Survey at Alappuzha wetlands hints at a decline in number of visiting waterbirds

Duck species sighted in previous surveys were totally missing this time. 15,335 birds of 117 species were sighted at the survey, held at 13 locations in 12 local bodies, by the Forest dept. and a birdwatching group.

Updated - January 13, 2023 07:48 pm IST

Published - January 13, 2023 06:56 pm IST - ALAPPUZHA

A Little cormorant sighted during the Asian Waterbird Census 2023.

A Little cormorant sighted during the Asian Waterbird Census 2023.

A shift in migration patterns of waterbirds appears to be taking place as revealed by a recent survey conducted in the northern parts of Alappuzha. A detailed assessment of the survey, conducted as part of the Asian Waterbird Census 2023, shows the populations of some migratory waterbirds, especially duck species, visiting the region are falling.

The survey jointly organised by the Social Forestry wing of the Forest department and Birders Ezhupunna, a birdwatching group, recorded 15,335 birds of 117 species. Last year, the survey sighted some 9,500 birds. Though at a glance the number of birds sighted in the region has recorded an increase, birders say that it does not reflect the reality of bird migration to the region. “Last year, we conducted a bird survey at seven places. This time, the census was held at 13 locations in 12 local bodies. Going through the details, we can say the number of migratory birds visiting the region is actually on the decline,” says Sumesh B., president, Birders Ezhupunna .

A Spot-billed pelican sighted during the bird survey.

A Spot-billed pelican sighted during the bird survey.

Climate change impact

The most shocking aspect was that duck species like Northern Shoveler, Common teal and Eurasian wigeon, sighted in the previous surveys, were totally missing this time around. “Climate change has affected the number of birds visiting the region. However, the precise impact of climate change on bird migration and the environment can only be known after conducting more studies and analysing the results of bird census in the coming years,” says G. Anilkumar, joint secretary, Birders Ezhupunna.

As many as 50 birders from different parts of the State took part in the census. They observed 68 bird species at Chembakasseri wetlands in Pattanakkad. It is followed by Changaram wetlands in Ezhupunna (67 species), Patthithode wetlands in Thuravoor (59), Kottalappadam wetlands in Pattanakkad (58), Perumbalam North (57), Pallathuruthy North in Alappuzha (52), Parayakad-Kannat wetlands in Thuravoor (52), Neendakara wetlands in Ezhupunna (44), Elipanam wetlands in Mannancherry (40), Elanjipadam, Areeparambu in Cherthala (35), Ulavaipu wetlands in Thycattuserry (35), Kannankara wetlands in Thaneermukkom (26), and Vembanad wetlands in Pathiramanal island (23).

A Cattle egret sighted during the survey.

A Cattle egret sighted during the survey.

Reports to local bodies

As many as 3,838 Lesser whistling ducks were sighted during the survey, followed by Whiskered tern (1,419), Little cormorant (1,106), Indian pond heron (998), Grey-headed swamphen (820), Barn swallow (830), Cotton pygmy goose (657) and Little egret (526).

A Oriental darter sighted during the bird survey.

A Oriental darter sighted during the bird survey.

Organisers of the survey are in the process of submitting the bird census reports to respective local bodies. The survey was inaugurated by K. Saji, deputy conservator (social forestry), Alappuzha, on January 8. A seminar was also held.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in

Comments

Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.