Tungabhadra banks turn pelican hubs

Unexpected visitors

Tungabhadra banks turn pelican hubs

As winter sets in, birdwatchers from across the State flock to villages along the banks of River Tungabhadra and the backwaters of its reservoir in Bellary district to watch migratory birds.  

But the onset of the coming winter has several surprises in store for them.  More than a hundred pelicans in the backwaters of the Tungabhadra reservoir is one of the surprises, according to wildlife photographers C S Nagaraj and Negalurmath.

Usually some 10 pelicans are spotted in the region by November. “This time, however, they have arrived early and in large numbers,” the photographers told Deccan Herald.  
Pelicans are unique among  the large and diverse species of migratory birds found typically in South India.

Mandya and Mysore are their preferred destinations. The pelican has been declared  a ‘protected species’ under the Wildlife Act and is also included in the red list of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
 
Threatened species

The birds, among the heaviest of the avians, migrate only short distances, especially to those water bodies which contain dense amounts of  fish.

“With the onset of summer, they subsequently migrate to Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu,” said Samad Kottur, a wildlife enthusiast.

To check the threat of poachers, forest officials have been forced to step up vigilance on the banks of the river and at the backwaters. “Fishermen, who feel that the pelicans consitute a threat to their livelihoods, will also be observed,” Kottur said.

Asian paradise flycathcers, Siberian Stone Chats, Minivets and Sothern Gray Shrikes are among the other birds spotted in Sandur, Siraguppa, Daroji and other regions so far this year.

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