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Thread: Migratory birds turn their back on lakes

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    Default Migratory birds turn their back on lakes

    One more addition to the ever increasing list of challenges faced by wetlands - Dumping of Poultry waste. It was there for sometime now but the proportions have gone up significantly, quite in line with the ever increasing obsession of the Malayalee with Biryani and Fried chicken.... I wonder how many are concerned about the hormone content in the meat of these living dead birds if not about the health of our Wetland Ecosystems.



    A recent bird survey of the Ashtamudi and Sasthamcotta lakes in Kollam district reveals a drastic fall in the arrival of migratory birds at these waterbodies.

    The survey, conducted by the Travancore Natural History Society and the Kottayam Nature Society, also reveals an increased presence of resident and endemic birds along polluted areas of these lakes.

    Both the lakes are Ramsar sites. The brackish Ashtamudi is the second-largest water body, and Sasthamcotta Lake the biggest freshwater lake in the State.

    The survey shows an alarming drop even in the presence of cormorants. During previous surveys, hundreds of cormorants could be seen at the lakes.

    One of the disturbing findings of the survey is that the Brahminy kite ( Haliastur indus ), which largely feeds on fish and crabs, has started depending on poultry waste dumped in Ashtamudi Lake for food. Every day, large quantities of waste are dumped at various points along the lake by poultry shops.

    Travancore Natural History Society coordinator H. Charan said the switchover to poultry waste by the Brahminy kites could bring about several changes in the birds, including genetic, and this needed to be taken up for detailed studies. It was no secret that a substantial quantity of chicken purchased by poultry shops from outside the State was injected with hormones, he said.

    On Sasthamcotta Lake, 411 birds from 19 species were spotted. Of those, there were only three species of migratory birds, and their strength was 243.

    The birds spotted at the lake during the survey include whistling teals, darters, pond herons, purple moorhens, and a lone marsh harrier.

    On Ashtamudi Lake, owing to dumping of poultry waste 210 black kites and 160 Brahminy kites were spotted during the survey. The only species of migratory birds spotted were the whiskered terns (71) and common sand pipers (6). Other birds seen on the lake during the survey include large egrets, open bill storks, white ibis and grey herons

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    Sad to hear that Poultry waste is dumped in the lakes. The amount of hormones pumped into the poultry directly goes to the waterbodies and the birds scavenging on the poultry wastes. As such the amount of heavy metal on the fish is increasing. There is no research on the impact of the heavy metals and other pollutants on either the fish or on birds of prey on on the end consumer ie the humans.

    A few years back there was a proposal to allow import of chicken legs to India. Unlike India, where people fight with each other to eat chicken legs, the breast piece of chicken is more in demand. Unfortunately, a few large poultry players stopped the proposal, as they feared that it would lead to drop in domestic demand of chicken.

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