SRIKAKULAM: THE people of this North Andhra village constitute committees every year to protect the migratory birds. Open billed storks (cranes) migrate to Telukunchi, a small village in Ichchapuram mandal of Srikakulam district, every year by travelling long distances. Birds build nests on the trees in and around the village. Villagers never cut the trees at the backyard and also on the village outskirts keeping the migratory birds in view. The birds even build nests very close to the houses in the village. Without the support of the government, people of the villages protect the birds.
Thousands of migratory cranes stay put in the village for six months from June every year. As the birds nest in private places, forest officials cannot construct sheds and grow trees like in government bird sanctuary. They feed on snails at the paddy fields in the surrounding areas of the village. There is a bird sanctuary at Telineelapuram in Tekkali mandal, which is maintained by the Forest department. “We treat the migratory cranes as our children,” said village head Pala Krishna Reddy.
“Our ancestors said the cranes have been migrating to the village for the past 150 years. We grow trees in and around the village to provide shelter to them,” said Krishna Reddy. He also said that they form committees to protect the birds from hunters. The birds make sounds when they are in danger. “Though they destroy fields while searching for food, we do not do any harm to them,” said the village head. District forest officer G Sandeep Krupakar said the open billed storks come to the village after travelling nearly 1,000 km every year. He also said that the villagers look after the birds very carefully.
Since they are private lands, the scope of development is very less, the DFO added. “We are planning to develop the spot with the support of the villagers,” said the DFO. Krupakar said that he had spoken to the villagers aout the development of a bird sanctuary in the village.