The bar-headed goose, considered one the world’s highest flying birds, recently visited the Muttukadu backwaters.
Nearly seven bar-headed geese made a temporary halt at Muttukadu on December 15, said KVRK Thirunaranan, founder, The Nature Trust. Bar-headed geese, native to Central Asia, are capable of flying through the passes of the highest mountains at heights of 12,000 to 14,000 ft with winds that blow at a speed of over 200 mph and temperatures low enough to freeze exposed flesh instantly, he said.
“This year is good for birding, especially in Pallikaranai,” Mr. Thirunaranan said, and added that it was considered a good sign if raptors visited the habitat. Thirteen raptors were spotted at Pallikaranai of which a few, such as the greater-spotted eagle, osprey, and the booted eagle were rare. In November, 118 species and more than 13,628 birds were identified at the Pallikaranai marshland, he said.
In Vedanthangal, one can spot the open-billed stork, spot-billed pelican, black-headed eagle, Eurasian spoonbill, cormorants, grey heron and darter this season, said Mr. Thirunaranan.
Emerging a disturbance
With an increase in interest to explore birding, there is also a rise in menace to birds at wetlands and green habitats, said Mr. Thirunaranan. Cautioning that intrusive photography could cause disturbance to the birds, he said, “photography should be a tool for conservation, not a disturbance.”
He said photographers must not go too close to the birds and must refrain from taking too many shots. For instance, flamingos that once used to flock the wetland near the Pallavaram -Thoraipakkam radial road have greatly reduced in numbers partly because of natural reasons and also due to people moving close to the restricted bund area, causing disturbance to the birds, he said.