“Welcome posters” greeting the arrival of a grey wagtail bird in Tamil and English has mushroomed in the town that is surrounded by the reserve forests. Students of five schools and a college in Valparai have started their annual bird monitoring season by putting up wall posters welcoming the small Himalayan bird that is now visiting the Anamalai Tiger Reserve housing Valparai.
“Young school students based in Valparai have launched a wall poster campaign welcoming the grey wagtail, a small winter migrant bird that annually visits the rainforests in TN,” says 19-year-old M Surya.
By pooling in our pocket money and the aid given by our teachers, we have printed 100 wall posters and a few hundred-bit notices greeting a healthy migration for these small birds.
Our volunteers are visiting market area, bus stands and temples pasting these posters to increase awareness on migratory birds. We are hoping that the local people will get educated on seeing these posters and develop compassion towards birds and conservation, Surya adds.
“This is an informal group where students join hands during the migratory season and this year, they wanted to start the season with a welcome poster for commonly found wagtail,” says government schoolteacher K Selvaganesh, who teaches English and birdlife for local students.
The bird watching hobby started five years ago at the Cinchona government High School and this passion has now extended to four other schools and a college in Valparai through social media. The students have also created an instagram and facebook pages for birds found in Valparai region, Selvaganesh added.
“Unlike their friends or regular teenagers, who put up the profile photos of cinema stars these young bird watchers are different. They keep the pictures of the migratory birds as their profile photo and it is happy to see the younger generation showing keen interest in learning about the bird diversity,” said conservation scientist P Jeganathan of E-bird group, who has been encouraging young bird watchers in western and southern districts of Tamil Nadu.