Despite the hot summer, the Point Calimere Bird Sanctuary is buzzing with activity. The place has been attracting large number of migratory birds as the water level in the sanctuary is good due to unseasonal rains between January and March.
According to ornithologists here, the sanctuary has witnessed the arrival of the glossy ibis (Plegadis falcinellus), a migratory bird species belonging to East European countries, Afghanistan and Baluchistan. The arrival of this bird this season is rare, they opine.
Ornithologists say that the arrival of the birds are limited to the Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary in Kancheepuram district and Vaduvoor Lake in Thiruvarur district.
The intermittent rains here in the months of January, February and March has resulted in a subsequent increase in water levels, triggering a spurt in the arrival of migratory birds.
Speaking to Express, DR Balachandran, a scientist with the Bombay Natural History Society said, “Due to the change in weather conditions and because of the unseasonal rains across the State, the birds are changing their habitat for their feed. The recent rains have kept the place relatively cool with feed available in plenty.”
The glossy ibis feeds on insects and snails available in fresh water ponds and farm lands. Apart from the new arrivals, the regular winged visitors to the sanctuary including pelicans, painted storks and spoon bills ranging between 10,000 to 15,000 in numbers, are still staying here despite this being the off-season period of the sanctuary.
“Due to the drought-like conditions prevailing in the Vaduvoor lake, most of the birds have turned towards Point Calimere,” he said.
The support given by locals in and around the sanctuary and the awareness programmes devised by forest officials seem to have a positive effect, as the birds have been protected from poaching.
The success ratio of the birds completing their return voyage depends on the amount of feed that birds manage to get at Point Calimere. “Since it is a holiday season, tourists by and large are coming to the sanctuary nowadays. The presence of such rare birds is a attraction for tourists,” said forest officer Vedharathinam.