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.

Wednesday 15 March 2017

Rare Indian Pitta spotted at bird watching exercise in American college

Arockiaraj Johnbosco | TNN | Updated: Mar 7, 2017, 12.34 AM IST

Madurai: It was a serene atmosphere at the American College on early Sunday morning where thirty people from different walks of life including students, advocates, executives, professors and environmentalists, gathered to go around the college premises, searching for the winged beauties that live in the foliage of the education institution. The Green Club of the college had organised a bird watching exercise after the success of 'Great Backyard Bird Counting' exercise at its campus in February.

After a brief introduction about the event, the participants stumbled upon jungle crows near the entrance. As the group proceeded, they spotted Asian Koel - male and female - followed by Kingfisher and pond herons. They also found egrets and ducks wading through the aqua culture ponds of the college. Walking through residential bungalows nestled within the thick flora growth; more birds were spotted including a bunch of owls living in a tree hole.

At the end of the exercise, participants found 20 species of birds. "We have 28 species of birds in our campus both residents and migratory ones. Among the bird spotted on Sunday was the rare Indian Pitta - a small stubby tailed bird - native of Indian subcontinent. The bird is very colorful but is shy searching for its prey of insects, in the floor of thick shrubs, making it very rare to spot", said M Rajesh, assistant professor, Zoology department and coordinator of the Green Club.

According to environmentalists, bird watching is an important exercise towards conserving birds. "Every bird has its role in environment. For instance, if owls go extinct there will be rats everywhere, causing destruction. Through bird watching we create an interest among participants sensitising them about the importance of conserving different species of birds and nature", said A L Elanchezhiyan, southern coordinator of environmental organization, Osai. 

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