The annual bird migration to the Vedanthangal bird sanctuary near Chennai has been affected due to deficit rainfall in Kancheepuram. The entire monsoon season till Deepavali has been deficit across north Tamil Nadu, particularly in Greater Chennai covering Tiruvallur and Kancheepuram.
According to sources in the Forest Department, though north Tamil Nadu supports wetlands, estuaries and dry deciduous forests, the migration pattern of birds was underwhelming this season due to poor rainfall.
As on Wednesday (November 7), there were only six districts that recorded surplus rainfall. Overall, Tamil Nadu has recorded a 17 per cent rainfall, with the entire northern belt –covering Chennai, Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur, Vellore, Villupuram and Cuddalore has districts – recorded alarming deficits of nearly half.
Chennai, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur recorded a rainfall deficit of 47, 45 and 48 per cent respectively, thus depleting the surface water in the wetlands. However, Tirunelveli and Coimbatore has recorded 58 per cent and 20 per cent excess rains respectively and Thoothukudi with 33 per cent surplus showers.
“Earlier, the bird sanctuaries in north and central Tamil Nadu would be colourful with birds by the mid of October. However, this year, it has been a disappointment till now,” said wildlife conservationist A Kumaraguru of Biodiversity Conservation Foundation.
However, adding a note of optimism, he said the situation could still change dramatically if there were a good spell of rains for one week. If that happens, he added, Vedanthangal, which is now without birds, would start attracting birds within no time.
In the case of Udayamarthandapuram and Vaduvoor bird sanctuaries in Tiruvarur district, the migration has started. By next month, visitors can see the nesting birds in close quarters, he added.
The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecast an increase in rainfall activity from the second week of November over extreme south Peninsular India (Tamil Nadu, adjoining Rayalaseema and Kerala). Normal to above normal rainfall is also reported by IMD. Foresters are awaiting fresh spells of rains at least by the end of this week. Forest department sources said that the basic works to draw in rain water like clearing up of encroachments and desilting of approaching canals have already been completed.