- A waterbird survey conducted in the Upper Kuttanad region has recorded 16,767 birds of 47 continental and local species. The survey, conducted as part of the annual Asian Waterbird Census, has spotted three new species — Greater flamingo, Grey-headed lapwing, and Blue-cheeked bee-eater.
- However, compared to the previous years, the number of winged visitors to the region has declined drastically. In 2017, the survey recorded 28,198 birds whereas 41,576 were spotted last year. According to B. Sreekumar of the Kottayam Nature Society and Harikumar Mannar, the birder who led the survey, the August deluge and subsequent delay in preparing paddy fields for the Puncha crop season could be the reason behind the sharp fall.
- This year, the survey was conducted in 15 places. Ikkaramukku and Naluthodu Padasekharams registered the highest number of bird sightings. Lowest number of birds was recorded from Karuvatta and Thakazhi.
- The survey was jointly organised by the Social Forestry wing of the Forest Department, Kottayam Nature Society, and Alappuzha Natural History Society. A total of 72 birders from across the State took part.
The Asian Waterbird Census:
- AWC is a part of the global International Waterbird Census (IWC) carried out each January as a voluntary activity.
- The survey would help understand the changes to wetland systems, change in migratory pattern of birds, and impact of climate change.
- The information gathered during the survey would be used to promote the designation and management of protected areas, Ramsar Sites, Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs), and so on.