Thursday, October 08, 2009

Uppalapadu Bird Sanctuary

Painted Storks, Spot-billed Pelicans and other birds migrate from various countries such as Siberia, Australia and use the sanctuary. The water tanks in the village are unique as they provide refuge to many species birds including endangered Spot-Billed Pelicans and Painted Storks.

The bird population in these tanks used to be around 12,000 previously, however lately only about 7000 birds roost in this dwindling habitat through the year. But some initiatives have taken place such as adding artificial trees, local awareness, proper water supply to the ponds etc. The artificial tress are added in the pond on which the birds can perch in addition to the natural trees..

During the visit to the sanctuary on 16 February, 2008, the author could found only about 1500 spotted bill grey pelican(pelecanus philippensis) and a slightly less number of Painted Stork(mycteria leucocephala).. Besides this 6 pintail ducks a few cormorant 5 red crested pochard(rhodonesa rufina), common coot, common teal, black-headed ibises, 2 stilts were also sighted.

The ever increasing demand of land both for building and cultivation by the villagers, location of a Zilla Parishad High School within the pelicnary and denudation of Kikar tree( Botanical Name: Prosopis velutina) which is the main stay of the pelican and stork colony, are imminent threat to this sanctuary. Instead of erecting wire mesh artificial-trees the forest department should plant more Prosopis velutina tree in and around this swamp.

The ibises and painted stork were found scavenging on the left over rotten fish droppings of pelican along with jungle crow. The main diet being fed to the chicks was both fresh and sea water fish. Some of the fish, particularly LabeoRohita (Carp) and other sea fish, which had dropped from the nests, were fresh and about 0.8 kg in weight. They must have been brought from nearest river and sea which is about 20-30 km away from the site since the pelicans were not found fishing from nearby ponds.

A recent visit on 2nd. February 2009 has confirmed that the large wire mesh tree which were provided by the Forest department are being used for nest making by the pelican, although it was not done so in the initial years. This pelicanary has completed ten years operation in 2009. Some pelicans have now opted another pond at Ramchandrapalem which is about 4 km from this site towards Guntur.

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