Good number of resident waterbirds spotted in TN during census

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Chennai, Feb 4 (PTI) Bird watchers have spotted a good number of resident waterbirds in Tamil Nadu during the just concluded Asian Waterbird Census (AWC).

Rare species were sighted in certain districts.

A good number of species were sighted in and around the city and Salem during the annual exercise spread over the first two weekends that concluded in January, K V Sudhakar, state co-ordinator of AWC, said.

This citizen-science event is a part of the global International Waterbird Census (IWC) initiative supporting conservation and management of wetlands and waterbirds worldwide.

'We are receiving snapshots of figures of birds from various districts and the process of compiling the data is on,' Sudhakar told P T I.

Besides him, Kumaran Sadasivam also coordinates the census in the state.

'We had furnished a list of 150 species for verification. Some of the youngsters involved in the census enthusiastically uploaded the photographs on the e-bird platform which needs to be collated,' he said.

Salem saw a record number of waterfowl.

'Many avid birdwatchers and scores of volunteers joined the census while maintaining COVID norms,' said S Venkatesh of Salem Ornithological Foundation.

At present the process of analysing the data is on, he said.

Indian Pond-Heron, Little Cormorant and Cattle Egret too were sighted at the wetlands. Among migrant waterbirds, Common Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Western Yellow Wagtail were spotted.

Initiated in 1987 in the Indian subcontinent, AWC covers 26 countries of South Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia, besides Russia.

'This census provides us valuable information on the status of wetlands and measures required to conserve them,' Sudhakar said.

Such an activity led to heightened awareness and helped to conserve the Pallikaranai marshlands in Chennai where a portion of the land was converted into a dumpyard, he claimed and said that effective conservation would help to increase the number of birds over a period of time.

The census also facilitates the assessment of water levels in the wetlands.

This apart, the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC), a global initiative which would see the participation of thousands of birdwatchers, will be held from February 12- 15.PTI PTI JSP SA SS PTI PTI