These birds found a suitable climate as Manakudy Bird Reserve situated in close proximity to the land’s end Kanniyakumari comprised of salt pans in Puthalam and Swamithoppu adjoining marsh lands, mud flats, flood plains and Manakudy Estuary with adequate supply of food for the birds as fresh water fish fauna, crustaceans, barnacles and freshwater weeds.
Moreover, these areas are far from urban localities and human habitations where the winged species have safety and security, apart from less sound pollution, Davidson said.
Birds from the Arctic region from the European countries as shanks, sandpipers, plovers visit these areas annually and local birds as red-wattled lapwing, paddy pipit and black winged stilt, which are ground nesters breed here. Besides, Greater flamingo, painted stork, pelican, coot, varieties of herons, spot billed duck could also be spotted here. Migratory duck species such as pintail duck, garganey, shoveller and wigeon, who visit here for wintering, are also seen in these wetlands.
Commenting on the birds, Davidson told DT Next on Sunday that every year birds from European countries visit the Manakudy Reserve for wintering from September to November and leave by March or mid-April depending on water in the wetlands. They prefer this area owing to the perennial availability of freshwater, mediocre climate, food availability, safety and lesser habitat disturbance.
Tagging helps ornithologists and scientists to study the distance of travel, the areas they visit, days of travel to reach the wintering spots, food availability, water quality, climatic factors, habitat area, challenges the birds have to face and human intervention in the wintering spots, he pointed out.
District Administration along with Department of Forest, PWD and the local people should join in conservation efforts to sensitize the cross-section of society on the vital importance of the avifauna, which is our environmental heritage, he added.