Winged visitors at Kaggaladu

It is rearing time for the painted storks at Kaggaladu, a village near Sira taluk. These guests have landed in Sira from countries like Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Malaysia and Bangladesh. This has meant that Kaggaladu is one of the most interesting bird sanctuaries in Karnataka. Apart from painted storks, birds such as grey herons can also be found here.

These winged visitors first started landing at Sira 18 years ago. Ever since, the villagers have ensured that they treat the birds with utmost care. The birds start landing here from February and fly back during the month of August.

Grey herons have been nesting here on a single tamarind tree since 1993. Their numbers increased in 1996, when a lone tree in the neighbouring Muddakanahalli, on which these birds were nesting, was disturbed by poachers and some of them were killed. The villagers are so passionate about bird conservation that they stopped using tamarind from the trees, according to some locals.

The painted stork is a large bird with a yellow, long and heavy bill, slightly de-curved near the tip. It has a black band across the breast. These storks are found in large numbers near water bodies all over the subcontinent. Storks like to eat fish. The birds live on frog and snakes also. The area has abundant feed for them. The female stork lays three to five eggs usually.

Kaggaladu, a hamlet of Tumkur district, is located about nine kilometres to the north-west of Sira town on the Sira-Chengavara Main Road.

V L Prakasha

Bhat’s experiments with organic farming

His farm is his lab. Srinivas Bhat has conducted several experiments on his seven-and-a-half acres of land at Hiriadka in Udupi district. Bhat has won the Progressive Farmer Award instituted by the Central government. He has also won several other awards such as the Krishi Pandit  award instituted by the state government. His farm has a lot of areca trees.

Apart from this, he has grown coconut, aecanut, pepper, cocoa and vanilla. He also has a dairy. Bhat generates the organic manure needed for his crops from the organic waste on his fields.  Then, there is a wide variety of fruits and vegetables too on his plot. Srinivas reaps rich benefits from his farm and earns as much as Rs 12 lakh per year.

G P  Prabhakar Tumari