SRIKAKULAM: About 2,000 migratory birds perished at Telukunchi village in Ichchapuram mandal of Srikakulam district in the severe cyclonic storm Titli as many big trees on which they roost, got uprooted and ravaged. However, the hatchlings of pelicans and storks that migrate to Telukunchi from Siberia every year, have survived. Villagers found the carcasses of the migratory birds in large number after the cyclone. “Apart from the bird carcasses, we found several chicks. We shifted the chicks to the cyclone relief centre as a temporary measure,” Pala Krishna Rao, a villager of Telukunchi, said.
People of Telukunchi have an emotional bonding with the migratory birds and take pride in themselves as hosts of the avian guests. The villagers believe that since they do not cut the trees and provide shelter, the birds come to Telukunchi to breed by travelling thousands of kilometres as it is a safe and secure place for them. There is also another belief that the arrival of migratory birds heralds a bumper paddy yield.
It is not for the first time that the migratory birds perished in cyclone at Telukunchi. Similar deaths were reported during Phailin and a few other cyclones that hit Srikakulam in the past.
Death of birds in huge number leads to contamination of water and air in the village surroundings. On being informed, forest staff visited Telukunchi and buried the carcasses on the village outskirts.
Palasa Forest Range Officer K Govinda Rao put the death of migratory birds at around 1,500. “The migratory birds perished due to uprooting of many trees in Telukunchi. A large number of birds were washed away in the floods.
We ensured proper disposal of bird carcasses to prevent the outbreak of infections. Our staff are now engaged in feeding the little birds,” he said. Unlike Telineelapuram near Tekkali, another place in Srikakulam district, which is visited by migratory birds, Telukunchi has no proper shelters and perches. Hence, the impact of the cyclone on the migratory birds in Telineelapuram was limited compared to Telukunchi.