The first phase of bird census will be commenced by the Tamil Nadu forest department on January 28 and 29. The three-phase census is to be conducted in coordination with Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), with technical support from Universal Eco Foundation and Indigenous Biodiversity Foundation (IBF), a non-profit organisation.
According to IANS, the census will be carried out by a 50-member team of volunteers from Myladuthurai and Trichy districts. Students of Pondicherry University will also be part of the survey. The survey will be carried out for four hours each day starting from 6 am to 10 am.
"The census will be carried out simultaneously at Kazhuveli bird sanctuary, Oussudu bird sanctuary, and Yedayanthittu estuary. The participants will be divided into groups and 12 transect lines are planned, including eight in Kazhuveli and two each in Yedayanthittu and Oussudu," Villupuram District Forest Officer Sumesh Soman told IANS.
The census will be covering important bird areas adjoining the sanctuaries and will be conducted in accordance with international norms.
Forest officials said that during a pre-bird census conducted by a team led by BNHS scientist S Balachandran on January 14 and 15, as many as 47 bird species were spotted. According to a The New Indian Express report, the pre-census survey estimated the presence of seven lakh bird visitors in the southern coasts of Tamil Nadu. It further reported that the census was usually carried out in February, but it was decided to advance it to the last week of January, which is when the bird numbers are expected to peak.
Forest Department officials have said that the second phase of the bird census will cover inland water birds and the third phase will cover terrestrial birds, the dates for which will be finalised soon.