Tamil Nadu

VIT home to several species of birds

A small blue Kingfisher hops on from one tree to another as a White-breasted Kingfisher flies past. While a Cormorant dips into the water in search of its prey, a Heron takes a quick flight and a parakeet is perched on the branch of a tree.

At VIT University, the campus is not only home to thousands of students, but to also several species of birds and butterflies. A periodically maintained lake, spread over 13.11 acres, on the campus has been drawing several birds, including local and migratory ones, in the last few years.

“We have recorded 76 species of birds at the lake in the last three years. The number is close to touching centum. This includes 13 local migrants such as Indian Silver Bill, Brown Shrike, Pied Bushchat and Gladiator Flycatcher,” said V. Sai Saraswathi, faculty coordinator of VIT Nature Club. As per the International Union for Conservation of Nature status, 13% of the 76 birds found at the lake are local migrants, 63% are common and 24% are uncommon, she added.

Top predators – that is raptors – such as Black Kite, Serpent Eagle and Black Shouldered Kite – have also been spotted at the lake. “We have also recorded Pelicans. Herons and Egrets are found in good number at the lake. In fact, the population of Grey Herons has increased significantly over the years,” she said

Seasonal migration

There is seasonal migration of birds – mainly from July to August. “Our students had also put up bird feeders by putting grains in waste water bottles that can be recycled and in pots. Artificial planting for drawing species such as humming birds was also done,” she noted.

In fact, butterflies are also a common sight at the waterbody. The number of species spotted has touched 100, she said, adding, “Butterflies are found in other parts of the campus and lake area. It is more diversified at the lake area because of the food chain and absence of disturbances.” The lake also has a good aquatic system with five to six varieties of fish.

“The food chain is highly processed due to the water resource. Good diversification has been seen in the lake ecosystem,” she observed.

The lake, which she describes as a good rainwater harvesting catchment area, is periodically desilted, Ms. Saraswathi said. “Rain water is drained into the lake through the storm water drains from the academic and hostel blocks. The periodic desilting is done on a scientific basis in which the bunds are made, and water stored in the catchment area,” she pointed out.

In fact, students of the club record the quality of water through a sampling technique. The quality of water before and after the rains is checked. “Percolation is definitely happening,” she said.

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Printable version | May 31, 2020 8:03:59 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/vit-home-to-several-species-of-birds/article19520216.ece

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