'19 new bird species found in Cauvery wildlife sanctuary'

'19 new bird species found in Cauvery wildlife sanctuary'

The Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary (CWS), where tigers have been sighted recently, is also rich in bird diversity. The first-ever bird survey, which concluded on Sunday, recorded 19 more bird species than compiled earlier. Of the new species, at least 13 are confirmed to have been reported here for the first time. 

About 60 bird experts and bird watchers, along with 40 members of the Forest department, went around the sanctuary, listing over 280 bird species. 

Organised by the Forest department, the Jungle Lodges and Resorts (JLR) and the Karnataka Eco-Tourism Development Board, the three-day survey threw up many surprises, with over a dozen new birds being recorded. “We had a checklist of 261 birds by bird experts earlier,” K S Vasanth Reddy, Deputy Conservator of Forests, CWS, told Deccan Herald. 

The survey, which covered 76 transits (each of three-km range) in various parts of the sanctuary, discovered several rare birds. One such bird, experts say, is the white-naped tit or pied-crested tit. This was its only record of sighting in entire south India. “It is also a critically endangered bird,” said V Vijay Mohan Raj, Managing Director, JLR, one of the organisers. 

In addition, birds like Indian courser and Malabar parakeet (which prefers the Western Ghats habitat) have been sighted here. 

Three types of warblers – large-billed leaf warbler, green leaf warbler and Western crowned leaf warbler – have also been sighted for the first time. Others include the fairy blue bird, the Indian blue robin, the yellow-throated bulbul, the crested goshawk, rosefinch, fork-tailed swift, Orphean warbler and European bee-eater. 

Another rare bird, the Eurasian Crag Martin, was sighted during the survey, according to some volunteers, but the Forest department said the discovery would be confirmed only when the data was compiled. 

Reddy stressed the importance of carrying out such a survey for conservation. “We need to know what is there in our sanctuary. Being a unique landscape, the CWS has canopies also and some of these birds dwell here. Conserving this patch will also help conservation of arboreal species like grizzled giant squirrel, which is endemic to this region,” he said. 

Among those took part in the survey were Bangalore-based bird experts, M B Krishna, Subramanya and Karthikeyan. They were emphatic that such surveys would help in bringing out a comprehensive checklist of birds in the region. “It will also give exposure to new habitats and places as some of them are not visited by the birders,” said Krishna. 

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