Seethathodu: Birds find the air over Pathanamthitta district in Kerala ambient. As per a recent report of the Central Pollution Control Board, Pathanamthitta has retained the status of the second least polluted town in India, while Tezpur in Assam has also retained its place as India’s least polluted as per the air pollution index.
Naturally, the forest areas under Ranni and Konni divisions near here in Pathanamthittta district are becoming the delight of ornithologists as many species of birds are flocking to these regions. The forest department of Kerala noted that these zones are hotspots of biodiversity and birds can only thrive in these conducive weather conditions.
The bird-watchers also vouch that these forest regions are home to some rare species of forest birds.
The birds are mainly found at Veluthodu, Moozhiyar, Kakki, Kochupampa, Kochukoyikkal, Plappally, Chalakkayam, and Meenar forest zones under the Goodrical range, which is spread across 505.976 sq km, and Narakan Aruvi, Parayanthodu and Randattummukku forest regions in Naduvathumoozhi range with an area of 139.5 sq km. Almost all birds found in other forests of the state can be spotted in these zones, said Hari Mavelikkara, coordinator of ‘Pathanamthitta Brothers’, a bird-watchers’ group.
The rare Sri Lanka frogmouth was sighted at the Kochukoyikkal forest.
Birds such as Nilgiri wood pigeon, blue-winged parakeet, crimson-backed sunbird, Malabar whistling thrush, white-bellied treepie and Malabar trogon (fire crow) can also be spotted in these forest areas.
Several great hornbills, Kerala’s state bird, and Malabar grey hornbills could be seen perched on trees. At times, the silence of dense forest is broken by shrill cries of greater racket-tailed drongo, yellow-browed bulbul, puff-throated babbler and quaker tit babbler. The bright-coloured scarlet Minivet and the unique Indian nuthatch, which can vertically climb and descend a tree, can also be found in huge numbers.
Bird-watchers can also find the shy Oriental dollarbirds and blue-bearded bee-eater in these forest ranges. The area is also home to long-billed sunbirds and purple sunbirds as well as pale-billed flowerpecker, Nilgiri flowerpecker and the rare thick-billed flowerpecker.
The migratory birds often arrive here by September and October. Birds such as Asian brown flycatcher, brown-breasted flycatcher, large-billed leaf warbler and greenish warbler touch the state's shores during these two months.
Birds like the grey-breasted laughing thrush, Wayanad laughing thrush and flycatcher could also be spotted on the upper reaches of the forest.