Point Calimere bird census ends in Tamil Nadu, experts want to hold it early
N Baskaran, a wildlife biologist from AVC autonomous college, said, “The number of birds counted does not reflect the migratory season in Point Calimere.
Published: 30th January 2023 06:30 AM | Last Updated: 30th January 2023 11:33 PM | A+A A-
NAGAPATTINAM: On the concluding day of the two-day bird census at the Point Calimere Wildlife and Bird Sanctuary in Kodiyakarai on Sunday, researchers laid stress on the need to advance the census by a month or two, to take better stock of the bird visits.
The annual bird census, conducted by the state forest department, observed a lesser influx of migratory birds compared to the previous year, leading officials and researchers to believe that the birds might have arrived early.
N Baskaran, a wildlife biologist from AVC autonomous college, said, “The number of birds counted does not reflect the migratory season in Point Calimere. If the census were conducted in November or December, we would have registered a lot more. Making the census biannual or triannual would give a better idea of bird visits.”
The 2022 census recorded around 2,01,633 birds across 77 species, while this year’s count was 40,722 birds in 97 species. While the number of species was higher, the number of birds showed a decline of 80%. Bird species like the Little Stint were largely missing in action.
Experts also believe the relatively low rainfall in Nagapattinam compared to the past two years could have affected the numbers that migrated. The last census was also held in January, but the water around the sanctuary was abundant, thanks to a good monsoon.
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K Krishnappa, a wildlife biologist from AVC autonomous college said, “Last year, we spotted a lot of birds wading in the waterbodies augmented by heavy rains. Those waters have dried up. So, many waders seem to have left early after they arrived. It is best to survey a month early.”
The numbers of Pelicans and Flamingoes, two of the star attractions among bird watchers, had also seen a drop. “There were plenty of flamingoes a couple of weeks ago; most of them have left,” said an official from the forest department. Bird watchers who turned up to spend their Sunday also faced disappointment.