Ranganathittu registers record collections

About 1,000 pairs of painted storks likely to arrive this week

Ranganathittu registers record collections

With bird numbers swelling by the day at the renowned Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary, the riverine islands are attracting a good number of tourists.

On December 29, 2013, the sanctuary broke the record for the highest collections on a single day, as more than 2,200 tourists visited the islands, resulting in a revenue collection of Rs 2.43 lakh.

Though authorities at the sanctuary expect the number of tourists to go down in the coming days, as year-end holiday season has come to a close, the bird numbers, however, are only expected to rise. This comes as a respite for bird lovers, as the number of migratory birds had seen a major dip in the last couple of years, owing to drought in the State.

This year, however, the sanctuary is populated by migratory birds such as spoonbills, pelicans, painted storks and open billed storks.

While about 500 pelicans, with their long beaks and throat pouches, are already at home at the sanctuary (building nests and preparing to lay eggs) painted storks are still arriving, which is a bit late this year.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Shivappa, Range Forest officer, Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary, said that about 100 pairs of grey herons have already laid eggs in one of the islands and are breeding successfully.

Lakshmisha, Deputy Range Forest Officer, said that the arrival of painted storks has been delayed by a fortnight this year.

“While painted storks usually arrive by December 15, this year they have arrived only after December 26. Currently, there are about 25 pairs. Their numbers will swell to nearly 1,000 pairs during the course of the week,” he added.

Apart from these, 200 pairs of spoonbills, 300 pairs of open billed storks and other local birds at the sanctuary are seen grooming themselves atop trees, ahead of the mating season. Apart from these, local birds such as cormorants, egrets and kingfishers are found in good numbers at the sanctuary.

Owing to winter, tourists can also watch the cold-blooded reptile, marsh crocodile, basking in the sun, atop rocks on the islands of the sanctuary. Apart from the migratory birds and the occasional crocodile, there are hundreds of other species of chirping and croaking birds to delight bird enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

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