Tamil Nadu

Two tagged migratory birds spotted in salt pans in Manakudy bird reserve

Rare visitors: Davidson Sargunam, a bird watcher and conservation educationist, has spotted the redshank, left, and the whiskered tern.  

Two tagged migratory birds — a redshank and a whiskered tern — were spotted in the salt pans of Swamithoppu in the Manakudy bird reserve in Kanniyakumari district.

Davidson Sargunam, a bird watcher and conservation educationist, has spotted the birds. He says the reserve has an adequate supply of freshwater fish fauna, crustaceans, barnacles and freshwater weeds, and has provided the birds security and a shield from sound pollution.

Every year, birds from European countries visit the reserve for wintering from September to November. They leave by March or mid-April, depending on the availability of water in the wetlands, Mr. Davidson says.

S. Balachandran, Deputy Director, Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), says this is the first time a whiskered tern, marked outside the country, is reported from India. “As the numbers in the ring are not visible, we are unable to conclude from which country the bird has migrated,” he says.

The whiskered tern is possibly from European countries. “There are terns that breed in India, but those birds will not come here,” he reasons.

According to Mr. Balachandran, there are five sub-species of redshank, and they migrate from the Himalayas, China, Mongolia and the Russian Far East.

“The redshank spotted in Kanniyakumari district is possibly from the subarctic region and it could be one of the birds tagged by the BNHS. We follow the practice of tagging birds on the tibia, the upper leg of the bird. It was either from Point Calimere or Mumbai, the two places where these birds were marked in considerable numbers,” he says.

Tagging helps ornithologists and scientists study the distance that birds travel, the areas they visit, the number of days they take to reach the wintering spots, food availability, water quality, climatic factors, habitat areas, challenges they face and human intervention in the wintering spots.

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Printable version | May 9, 2021 6:22:37 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/two-tagged-migratory-birds-spotted-in-salt-pans-in-manakudy-bird-reserve/article34298182.ece

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