Decline in number of migratory birds

Nagapattinam: There has been sharp decline in the arrival of migratory birds in the Point Calimere (Kodiakarai) wildlife sanctuary this year, as per a cenus by the district forest department, in coordination with research bodies and college students.

The wildlife and birds sanctuary,normally serves as the preferred destination for migratory birds from faraway countries regularly.

However, the census revealed that there was nearly a 50 per cent decline in the arrival of birds at the sanctuary compared to the previous years, official sources said.

Last year nearly 3.35 lakh birds were spotted in the sanctuary area. However, the number was 50 per cent less this year, especially that of flamingoes and shore birds, the sources said.

The declines was suspected to be due to the high rainfall received in the region during the north-east monsoon season, as a result of which the lagoons in the area were overflowing.

Shore birds find it hard to catch their prey in overflowing lagoons.

Out of the total of 247 varieties of birds found to be visiting the sanctuary regularly, this year only about 63 species have arrived. Teals, Northern Pintails and Bar-headed Goose have arrived in large numbers. Several types of ducks too were spotted in large numbers this year.

The migratory birds, from countries as far as Siberia and other West Asian countries, visit the sanctuary during October and stay up to March moving around freely in the sprawling 20 sqkm area of dry evergreen forests, the sources said.