As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Sunday, 31 January 2016

23 bird and butterfly species recorded in airport

With their natural habitat shrinking, birds are attracted to open spaces like the Tiruchi airport, say activists.

The study recorded 23 species of birds including Asian Palm Swift, Black Kite, Black-Shouldered Kite, Oriental Skylark, Spotted owl.

An independent study by a city college faculty member on bird activity in the international airport and in its vicinity here has recorded 23 bird species besides butterfly species and few mammals, amphibians and reptiles.

The ongoing study by Q. Ashoka Chakkaravarthy, Assistant Professor of Environment Science, Department of Foundation Courses, St. Joseph’s College, Tiruchi, with cooperation from the airport officials is to eventually suggest scientific measures to minimize bird hits suffered by aircrafts.

Engaging a few students, the study, launched in December last week, at first sought to identify distribution of birds in the airport and its vicinity by carrying out field studies at different time intervals. In its preliminary report, it recorded 23 species of birds including Asian Palm Swift, Black Kite, Black-Shouldered Kite, Oriental Skylark, Spotted owl, rock pigeon, house crow, Indian robin, Common myna, Indian pond heron, Hoopoe and white throated kingfisher inside the airport. With respect to butterflies the species recorded include Blue Pansy, Small Grass yellow, crimson rose, common rose and Tawny coster.

Mammals such as mongoose and rabbit, amphibians such as frogs, reptiles like snakes and insects like dragonfly were recorded, said Ashoka Chakkaravarthy – also an ecologist.

Point count methodology was adopted to record distribution of bird species.

Now, the study would focus on areas of bird activities, reasons for their attraction towards the airport side and how they become a hazard to aircraft while landing and take off. It would soon be done by field observations, inspection of infield areas and survey of buffer zone soon by seeking cooperation from the Airports Authority of India and Corporation authorities. The study would deploy bird scaring reflective ribbons, a device, in vantage areas inside the airport to ascertain the extent to which the device would scare the birds from flying inside the airport area thereby averting bird hits.

The study would use organic pesticides to remove insects inside the airport so that birds do not venture inside for foraging. In addition, other environmental management actions and measures would be looked into during the study before coming out with a set of recommendations to minimize such bird hits and the save the birds.

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