Uppalapadu attracts avian visitors

In danger: Young chicks of Spot Billed Pelicans at Uppalapadu getting ready to fly out.

In danger: Young chicks of Spot Billed Pelicans at Uppalapadu getting ready to fly out.   | Photo Credit: – Photo: T. Vijaya Kumar

Ramesh Susarla

Pesticide-spraying has disastrous consequences for chicks

Garapadu tank emerges new nesting ground

World Wetlands Day today

GUNTUR: Residents of Uppalapadu village in Guntur district have been generous enough to allow the precious avian visitors to their village tank, but recently some chicks of Pelicans nesting here, allegedly died after consuming insects from nearby fields. On the World Wetlands Day on Monday, the local farmers need to understand that spraying pesticides on their crops could indirectly lead to the death of these birds as the parent birds pickup these dead insects to feed their young ones. Death of some of the chicks recently has been attributed to this activity.

Uppalapadu near Guntur is one of the only three places in India where Spot-Billed Pelicans nest, while they reside at other places too.

Karnataka, Kerala-TN Border are the other two places where these large winged creatures nest. Some nesting grounds of Burma, Malaysia and Vietnam got destroyed or were deserted for various reasons leading to increase in numbers at Uppalapadu for the past one year.

In practice these Pelicans and Painted Storks have found a new tank at Garapadu a little over 4 k.m. from Uppalapadu, for nesting and for the past several months this panchayat tank is being inhabited by about 500 pelicans and 50 painted storks due to shortage of space at Uppalapadu.

A Zilla Parishad School is housed in a small island inside the tank on a 2.5 acre site and there is sufficient water around the school, but due to regular visit of human beings, these birds have not nested on some of the trees that are most suitable for their purpose. If the Gram Panchayat agrees and gets an alternative land with the help of Zilla Parishad and District Administration for the School Building, this could become country’s largest nesting ground for Pelicans.

Several speeches will be made on World Wetlands Day Celebrations at Uppalapadu, but if a concrete decision is taken, it could benefit the villagers and winged creatures. The Day marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on February 2, 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea. Each year since 1997, government agencies, non-governmental organisations and groups of citizens at all levels undertake actions aimed at raising public awareness of wetland values.

In India also several events are organised for school children. At Uppalapadu this is the best time for visitors see young chicks making efforts to fly out and by June-July a new species of birds -- Open Bill Storks and White Ibis will takeover the space and flyout some time in October.

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