Winter bird count 2016 @ Kole wetlands, Thrissur, Kerala

Winter bird count 2016 @ Kole wetlands, Thrissur, Kerala

Kole wetlands of Thrissur is a Ramsar site and an important bird area (IBA). Counting and monitoring Water bird population started as early as 1987. Usually water bird count is conducted in the month of January, which coincides with the Asian Waterbird Census. Ever since the popularity of bird watching increased all over Kerala thanks to various initiatives like Kerala Bird Atlas, Onam Bird Count, Great Backyard Bird Count etc, Kole wetlands are being monitored in greater detail throughout the year by interested bird watchers. It has long been observed that bird populations at individual sites within Kole are affected by land conditions of the wetland. After the onset of monsoon, migratory birds populate Kole where land conditions are made favorable by farming activities like draining, plowing etc. Peak bird activity generally occurs during months of Oct-Nov when land is prepared for paddy cultivation. But timing of paddy cultivation is affected by multiple factors like rainfall, time and effort taken to drain the flooded land, government policies among many others.
It is in this context, we thought of conducting a Pre- Asian Waterbird Census. It was Dr. Nameer who catalyzed our thoughts and around 20 volunteer bird watchers joined from all over Kerala in quickly organized survey supported Kerala Forest department.
61 wetland species of birds were observed, with a total count of 20,251 birds. We surveyed 5 usual AWC locations where bird activity is known to be at its peak.

The 10 most common birds at Kole during the survey were,

Whiskered Tern 5811
Little Egret 2361
Little Cormorant 2357
Intermediate Egret 1902
Indian Pond-Heron 1202
Wood Sandpiper 935
Glossy Ibis 842
Painted Stork 529
Eurasian Coot 478
Indian Cormorant 407

We are thankful to volunteer bird watchers, print & visual media personal (couple of who actually participated in the count!) and Kerala Forest department for successful completion of the event. It is also important to have bird population and movement data during this time of the year, when news about outbreak of bird flu in Kerala becoming rampant year after year. We hope to repeat the winter survey in coming years to see any trend emerging.

Pre-AWC Bird Count – 5 Nov 2016
Thrissur, Kole Wetlands (Kerala)

Team – Uppungal
Kole Wetlands–Uppungal

Team – Manakkodi
Kole Wetlands–Manakodi

Team – Pullazi

Team – Enamavu

Team – Adat
Kole Wetlands–Puzhakal
Kole Wetlands–Ambakkad
Kole Wetlands–Puranattukara
Kole Wetlands–Murppara, Puranattukara
Kole Wetlands–Murppara, Puranattukara (2)
Kuroor Paara, Adat
Mullur Road
Ayanikkad, Adat
Pathiyarkulangara, Parappur
Mullur Kayal

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