28,000 birds arrive in Ramnad district to enjoy season

Melaselvanoor-Keelaselvanoor is the most sought after destination for them

RAMANATHAPURAM: The recent census of birds conducted in different parts of the district revealed that as many as 28,000 birds including those from far away countries have arrived in Ramanathapuram district to enjoy the season.

Though birds have been seen in all sanctuaries of the Forest Department such as Kanjirankulam, Chirankudi and Melaselvanoor-Keelaselvanoor and backwater areas and water bodies in the district, the census shows that Melaselvanoor-Keelaselvanoor is the most sought after destination for them.

HAPPY SOJOURN:Birds at the Melaselvanoor-Keelaselvanoor sanctuary in Ramanathapuram district.

Out of 27955 birds, 7156 have been nestling or breeding in Melaselvanoor-Keelaselvanoor bird sanctuary alone. The 321.48-hectares Melaselvanoor tank has attracted huge congregations of migratory birds, including spoon bills, spot-billed pelicans, painted storks, grey herons, white ibis, open billed stork, darters, cormorants and local water birds.

An interesting observation of the senses is that Ramanathapuram Peria kanmoi (big tank) and Sakkarakottai tank, which have not been notified as bird sanctuaries, have topped the list next only to Melaselvanoor-Keelaselvanoor sanctuary. The arrival is larger than the other two sanctuaries in the district.

According to the data available with the Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park, which organised the comprehensive and synchronised bird population estimation recently, the big tank and Sakkarakottai tank have received 6442 and 4617 birds respectively in this season. Kanjirankulam and Chithirankulam sanctuaries received 1933 and 2805 birds of different species.

A large number of birds were seen in back water areas in Valinokkam, Pillaimadam, Kothandaramar temple and islands of Gulf of Mannar such as Hare, Manoli and Manoliputti, Kurusadai too.

M. Sundarakumar, Wildlife Warden, GMMNP, told The Hindu that about 10,000 greater flamingos, came from different continents, had been wandering in Kothandaramar lagoon area near Dhanushkodi alone. They were seen in large numbers in Big tank and Sakkarakottai tank.

While flamingos arrived a little late this season, most of the other migratory birds had been camping in the district from October and November. The availability of abundant food and conducive climate in the current season for breeding were the main reasons for the arrival of migratory birds. They would continue their stay till March-April, he added. Another interesting observation was that the birds were seems to be following a hierarchy in occupying the trees. The pelicans and painted storks occupied the babul trees. Medium-sized trees were occupied by darters, spoonbills, open billed stork and white ibis occupied the canopy.

C. Jaishankar From THE HINDU

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