Mysuru: The famed Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary near Srirangapatna will be closed for visitors till 11 am on Sunday, Mar. 4. For, the Forest Department will conduct the first-ever bird census from 6 am to 10 am on that day. Normally, the sanctuary opens at 9 am.
The bird census is being conducted by the Department in association with Mysore Bird Watchers’ Group. Over 50 volunteers who are avid bird watchers have registered their names for the census and training will be provided to them at Aranya Bhavan on scientific bird counting on Mar. 3, a day before the actual census.
Speaking to Star of Mysore this morning, Deputy Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) V. Yedukondalu said that the exercise will be conducted at Ranganathittu for the first time. From now, such census will be conducted four times a year — November, February, May and August.
“Food and accommodation will be provided by the Forest Department and the volunteers will be transported to Ranganathittu in our vehicles. This will be a scientific study and our initial estimates show that there are over 200 species of birds. However, we will wait for the exact count in the form of tabulation sheets,” he said.
The department will provide binoculars, annexure of flora and fauna for reference, booklets and details of do’s and don’ts during the census. Volunteers will also make rough sketches of birds and nests found on islands and make notes of vegetation.
The census will be conducted using a unique ‘three-technique formula’ — photography and videography, direct counting technique and nest counting. “Apart from volunteers, there will also be ornithologists from various places. The volunteers, majority of them amateur photographers and experts, will travel in 15 boats to count the birds.
Teams will note down all aspects like total count of birds, number of nests, chicks in each nest, trees preferred for nests, vegetation preferred by different species, their association with other species, height the birds prefer to sit or build nests on trees.
“We have decided on conducting four censuses annually as birds of different species arrive at the sanctuary in different seasons, have hatchlings and fly back home,” he said. Apart from birds, the Forest Department is also counting crocodiles and river otters which are in abundance at the sanctuary.