TRICHY: Though Cyclone Gaja has crushed the 150-hectare Vaduvur bird sanctuary located in Tiruvarur district last November, it did not prevent the migratory birds from visiting the avian habitat.
As many as 114 bird species were spotted during the two-day annual synchronized bird census carried out by the forest department recently. While the bird count in the sanctuary is slightly less than last year, forest officials said that the outcome of the census was quite encouraging as they expected that birds would skip the sanctuary this year due to the extensive damage caused by the cyclone.
Recommended By Colombia “Availability of water in the lake this year was a blessing in disguise which ensured adequate feed for the birds leading to the birds flocking to the sanctuary in large numbers for breeding and nesting,” said V Sai Saraswathi, professor from VIT University who was part of the census team.
“I was very much worried about the condition of the sanctuary after the cyclone and expected only a few bird species this time. But it was surprising to find that the fresh water eco-system continues to attract birds despite the devastation caused by the cyclone,” she said. But, she said that there was variation in the diversity of bird species. Painted stock species and bar headed goose could not be spotted this year.
“Population of spoon bill, painted stork, pelicans and greater flamingos have come down significantly in the sanctuary,” said founder-director of Biodiversity Conservation Foundation A Kumaraguru. “However, migratory birds including ruff, common teal and shoveler topped this year’s list,” said the conservation scientist adding that more than 6,000 common teals, 4,000 ruffs, 3,630 northern shovellers, 1,800 northern pintail and 2,103 common teals were spotted during the census.
Results of the bird census are quite encouraging, said S Ramasubramanian, conservator of forest, Thanjavur circle. We thought most of the birds will skip the sanctuary due to the damage caused by the cyclone.
Water level in Vaduvur is good now and a good number of birds, especially from European countries can be spotted here. He said they have identified certain factors hindering the movement of birds. Weeds such as iponea, water hyacinth and prosopis juliflora are invading the water spread area, which will be removed in the coming days. “Some of the selected areas would also be desilted and trees would be planted on the bunds so that birds can nest on them. The cyclone had taken a toll on a number of trees in the sanctuary, he said.