Bird watchers to walk into Silent Valley on December 26

It’s the 30th anniversary of the first-ever bird survey in Silent Valley. It was on December 25-28 in 1990 that the first survey of birds was conducted at the national park.
A view of the Silent Valley from Olipara. (File Photo)
A view of the Silent Valley from Olipara. (File Photo)

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: When the temperature drops to 20 degree Celsius in December, amid the sounds of insects buzzing, frogs croaking, birds chirping, bats pinging and mammals making loud noise, the evergreen forests of Silent Valley National Park will have new visitors.

A 30- member team of ‘Kerala Natural History Society’ in three to five member groups will walk slowly and silently into the interiors of the forests to conduct a five-day-long bird survey in the national park. It’s the 30th anniversary of the first-ever bird survey in Silent Valley. It was on December 25-28 in 1990 that the first survey of birds was conducted at the national park.

Although the 30th anniversary was in 2020, due Covid pandemic the survey was postponed. The forest department has now given permission to conduct a survey in the Silent Valley. The survey will start on December 26 and end on 29.

The survey teams will reach first Mukkali in Palakkad on December 26 and from there will move to the interiors of the forest, accompanied by forest officials. The volunteers are selected based on strict criteria. As the purpose of the survey is purely academic, it has been decided not to entertain so-called ‘nature lovers’.

“Silent Valley has many bird species endemic to the Western Ghat forests,” said C Sushanth, a veteran bird watcher and coordinator of Warblers and Waders. “White -crested Laughingthrushes, Malayan night heron, Hornbill, and Neelgiri wood pigeon are the important bird species in the region. The survey will start from 7 in the morning and will stop at 9 am,” said Sushanth.

According to forest department’s data, a total of 211 species of birds belonging to 40 families under 15 orders have been recorded from Silent Valley. Of them 30 species are from this area. The undisturbed evergreen forest is a perfect host for many rare birds’ breeding ground.

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