SIVAGANGA: There can be many reasons for someone to stop bursting firecrackers, but villagers of Kollukudipatti and Vettangudipatti are refraining from the activity for the sake of the migratory birds. Families from these two villagers have been treating the feathered guest as a god, keeping in mind the Indian culture of treating guests as gods.
A sanctuary named Vettangudi Bird Sanctuary is located on the Thirupattur Madurai National Highway, 15 km away from Singampunari near these two villages.
Several state governments across the country imposed restrictions on firecrackers ahead of Deepavali, but these villagers have not been bursting firecrackers for decades now.
Narrating the history of the migratory birds, a resident of the Kollukudipatti, Veeranan (56), said the migrating birds initially stayed in the Vettangudipatti waterbody. However, due to several disturbances, the avians shifted to two other water bodies in Kollukudipatti. Now, the birds are staying at 13.6 hectares in the sanctuary and using the three water bodies in Kollukudipatti and Vettangudipatti villages.
Even before the area was announced a sanctuary the villagers have not been bursting crackers. "We have been celebrating a silent Deepavali every year for many years now for the birds that visit us. Our young generations also followed this tradition for the sake of the winged friends,” Veeranan added.
Veeranan further said the villages with more than 100 families saw no joy in bursting firecrackers, so they decided to safeguard and secure the environment for the sake of fellow living beings.
15,000 migratory birds arrived this season
Forest Range Officer of Thirupattur, A Mathivannan, said the migratory birds have started arriving at Vettangudi Bird Sanctuary from the 1st week of October this year. Though the birds, coming in two batches, have been arriving early in recent years, the case has been different this year. This year they were witnessed in October as a single batch. A total of 23 species of birds from various parts of the subcontinent, including, Sri Lanka, China, Myanmar and Maldives, visited the 38.4-hectare sanctuary that spans across Kollukudipatti and Vettangudi villages.
Mathivannan added that the birds like egrets (little, medium, large and cattle), heron (night and pond), open bill stork, Indian white eye, waterhen, black-headed ibis and white-throated kingfisher visited the sanctuary during this season. As of now, around 15,000 birds are already here. The birds take at least four months for nesting, hatching and fledging, he added.