Nagapattinam: Migratory birds have started arriving at the Point Calimere sanctuary on Vedaranyam coast here with authorities taking extensive measures to ensure their protection following a steady decline in the number of winged visitors.
The lagoons in this area with their rich fish population attract thousands of migratory birds from countries as far as Siberia and other West Asian countries.
Sanctuary sources said this year, about 40 bird species, including 20 terrestrial species, have arrived. Since the district has been registering good rainfall during the past two weeks after the North-East monsoon became active, ornithologists have predicted considerable increase in the inflow of migratory birds in the coming days.
The variety of birds include blue jay, egret, myna, drongo, brahmini kite, curlew, brown headed gull, flamingo, teal, black-tailed godwit, whiskered tern, blue tailed bee eater, red shank, little stint and painted stork.
Last year, the decline was particularly very sharp in the number of flamingos.
The sanctuary, situated in a sprawling 20 sq km area of dry evergreen forests, serves as abode for a good population of black bucks, antilopes, chitals, feral horses, wild boars and about 250 species of colourful birds. The forest area was declared a wildlife sanctuary during 1967.
The birds visit the sanctuary during the later part of November and stay up to February or March every year.
As a precautionary measure, early this week, the wildlife department arranged for veterinary screening camps in nearby villages to vaccinate cattle, goats and poultry to prevent any possible outbreak of diseases to migratory birds and vice-versa. They have also tightened patrolling in the sanctuary area to prevent poaching.