The second phase of the Synchronised Bird Census for terrestrial birds, organised by the Tamil Nadu Forest Department on Sunday, recorded over 7,000 birds belonging to 130 species in Villupuram and Kallakurichi districts.
The day-long census tried to enumerate resident and migratory birds associated with major ecosystems and covered forests as well as selected rural and urban hotspots in the two districts.
An orientation session for the staff and volunteers was held on Saturday. The teams visited designated forest areas from early morning on Sunday, to start the survey.
Teams of volunteers, bird watchers, and ornithologists conducted the census in 32 zones – 12 in Villupuram district and 20 in Kallakurichi district with technical support from Universal Eco Foundation, a Puducherry-based biodiversity conservation organisation in Villupuram, Indigenous Biodiversity Foundation, a non-profit organisation in Cuddalore, and Hope for You, a non-governmental organisation in Kallakurichi district.
According to District Forest Officer Sumesh Soman, “The idea behind the census is to know the population of migratory and native birds, and steps that should be taken to improve the bird count. The census will help to understand the threat to birds and their habitats so that proper measures could be taken for their conservation.”
“As many as 3,483 and 4,108 birds belonging to 130 species were observed in Villupuram and Kallakurichi districts. Common Myna, Asian Palm Swift, Rock Pigeon, Laughing Dove, Red-wattled Lapwing, Spotted Owlet, Indian Roller, Asian Open Bill, Small Minivet, Shikra, and Lesser Kestrel were among the top species by population size recorded by the bird enthusiasts in the terrestrial landscape,” he said.
Mr. Soman added, “The census also found over 300 birds at the sacred grove at Sri Manjaneeswarar Ayyanar temple at Kilputhupattu near Marakkanam, located south of the Kazhuveli bird sanctuary. The maximum number of birds in the Villupuram Forest Division was recorded at the Gingee fort area in Villupuram district. The team counted 643 birds at this location. The census was simultaneously held in 20 locations in Cuddalore district. After checking and cross-checking the data, a final report would be compiled by the Forest Department to initiate conservation initiatives.”
The first phase of the bird census on January 28 and 29 recorded over 150 species and 26,668 individual birds in wetlands and bird sanctuaries in Villupuram district.