Chennai: The lockdown forced people to largely remain within the confines of their homes, but it was life as usual for birds and a good number of them were sighted by bird watchers here and in other parts of Tamil Nadu. At least 80 bird species in June and about 83 in July were spotted in the Pallikaranai Marsh, the last remaining wetland in the city, which also attracts migratory birds, according to the Tamil Nadu Forest department.
“The Greater Flamingo was the seasonal migratory bird here. The marshland is the home for about 8,300 birds,” a senior official said. Apart from breeding residents, the biodiversity rich area attracts a good number of winter visitors.
The migratory bird season at Pallikaranai usually begins with the onset of the North East monsoon in October. Some of the resident bird species include Purple Swamphen, Common Moorhen, Pheasant-tailed Jacana, Purple Heron, Black-Winged Stilt, Common Coot, Indian Spot-Billed Duck, Spot-Billed Pelican, and Pied Kingfisher.
Members of the Salem Ornithological Foundation (SOF) have recorded 81 endemic bird species in the city in western Tamil Nadu during the Covid-19 lockdown. Asian Koel, Cattle Egret, Red-vented Bulbul, common Myna and Yellow billed Babbler were among the birds spotted in Salem.
With a steep decline in noise pollution and industrial and other human activities coming to a halt, the call or song of birds fill our ears, said wildlife activist K Mohan Raj.
The foundation had even introduced Lockdown Nature Writing Challenges to encourage the habit of nature writing and also to keep boredom and stress at bay.