About one million birds of 80 different species have been identified during the first phase of the synchronised bird census in Tamil Nadu. The census carried out on January 28 and 29 at Point Calimere, Valinokkam, Dhanushkodi, Thoothukudi, and Kanniyakumari revealed a large number of several species of birds with flamingos having a major presence. More than 20,000 flamingos were detected from Point Calimere, Valinokam (10,000), Dhanushkodi (2,000), Thoothukudi (2,000) and Kanniyakumari (600).
Forest officials told IANS that the heavy rains that lashed the state in 2020 and 2021 have resulted in the presence of a large number of birds. A senior wildlife officer said: "The heavy rains of 2020 and 2021 have nourished the eco-system leading to the migration of shorebirds to nesting sites in Tamil Nadu".
Several uncommon species like Eurasian Curlew, Whimbrel, and Ruddy turnstone were detected at Point Calimere, Pichavaram, Kaliveli Lake, Thoothukudi, Ramanathapuram, and Adyar Creek. In addition to this, common species like Marsh Sandpipers, Lesser Sand Plover, Redshanks, Great knots, Spotted Redshanks were also found in large numbers at these points, the wildlife official said.
The world's longest non-stop flying birds, bar-tailed godwit and ruddy turnstone, and the highest-flying bird, the bar-headed geese, were recorded in large numbers during the two-day synchronised census. Major duck congregations, including Northern Pintails, Northern Shovellers, Eurasian Wigeon, and Garganey were also spotted, the officials said.
The bird census was conducted by the Tamil Nadu Forest Department in association with the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), Wildlife Institute of India (WII) and Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History (SACON). The wildlife department said that 45 civil society groups, NGOs and ten colleges and universities participated in the census.