Birds of many feathers

Miscellany

Birds of many feathers

In 1990, a dam was built across Tayawwana Halla (water bund) in the village of Attiveri to facilitate the farmers of the village to irrigate lands.

Over time, the entire submerged area with shimmering water, mounds in between and the adjoining vegetation turned into a delightful landscape and started attracting birds from several countries. In August 2000, the government declared Attiveri a bird sanctuary.

Nearly 80 species of birds are said to be found in this sanctuary. The Deputy RFO, Parameshwar, points out that some rare birds which congregate here during the migratory season come from as far as Europe and Serbia, and enjoy the warm tropical weather of Attiveri.

As soon as you enter the reservoir area, you will be greeted with lines of cormorants, common teals, cotton teals, spot-billed ducks, garganies, comb ducks, egrets and darters. A walk for about two km around the water body will definitely give you a glimpse of birds such as the painted stork, Asian open billed stork, red headed black ibis, oriental white ibis, Eurasian spoonbill, brown headed gull, pheasant tailed jacana, bronze winged jacana, purple moorhen, heron, etc.

A walk along the stream margin slit would help you spot pratincoles, black winged stilts, yellow wagtail, white breasted waterhens, ringed plovers and variants of lapwings. In the meantime, if you focus your eyes into the sky, you can watch river terns, kingfishers and bee eaters busy catching prey. The most common winter visitors to this hot spot are sandpipers, northern pintail, northern shoveller, marsh harrier, osprey, etc. Moreover, the woods also provide a good habitat for Indian roller (blue jay), spotted owlet, Indian koel, white headed babbler, etc.

The sanctuary is about 45 km from Hubli. One has to follow the diversion at Vadagatta forest check-post on Hubli-Mundagod state highway and drive six km on the village road to reach the place. Since there is no public transportation on these interior roads, it is advisable to depend on private arrangements. If you prefer walking down from the check-post to the sanctuary, that too is rewarding; you may spot at least a few drongos, hawks, bushchats, peafowl, langurs, Malabar squirrel, porcupines, hares, mongooses, jackals, wild boars and spotted deer strolling in the surrounding forest.

The development activities taken up by the Forest Department are laudable. Facilities like watchtower and watchbridge, drinking water, tiled shelters and children’s playground are all well maintained. A guest house and a mini canteen run by the Department is also located within the sanctuary; however it is available for bird watchers and researchers upon prior permission of the Assistant Conservator of Forests, Wildlife Sub-Division, Ranebennur. The sanctuary is open from 6 am to 5:30 pm and the best season to visit is between November and March.

Trespassing and livestock grazing are very common in the sanctuary and needs fencing along the border to save the beauty and serenity of the environment. For a long time, birdwatchers have been urging the State Road Transport Corporation to run bus services to the sanctuary either from Hubli or Mundagod at least two-three trips a day. Moreover, it seems that both the Forest and Irrigation Departments need to join hands and ensure that the reservoir is full even during summer.

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