Bird watchers here are elated as rare and exotic water fowls are selecting Kumarakom as their nesting destination.
The latest of the sighting was that of Painted Stork, which has been sighted for the first time nesting in Kerala.
The study conducted by Shiby Moses, naturalist at Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, has identified nesting of these exotic birds at the sanctuary area.
Further study by N. Unnikrishnan, secretary, Kottayam Nature Society, has uncovered three nests in the area. According to B. Sreekumar, president of the society, more nesting places are believed to be inside the sanctuary since Painted Storks nest colonially on trees.
These large, colourful birds stand nearly one meter tall. Their distinctive pink tertial feathers give them their name. Painted Storks, listed in the Red List prepared by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), were usually sighted in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, but not in Kerala, Dr. Sreekumar said.
The sighting shows that these large wading birds, though widely distributed in the plains of Asia, are now expanding to new areas.