“Migrant Watch” to get a closer looks at migrant birds visiting Sri Lanka
By Sandun W - Sat Nov 05, 12:36 am
Migrating birds are among the most remarkable components of global biodiversity. Their seasonal migrations, which almost often are many thousands of miles long, have captured man’s curiosity and awe. Birds migrate for various reasons of which are complex and yet not fully understood by man. The simpler explanation is food, safe breeding grounds and weather. Being able to fly helps avoid the harsh winter conditions. More than often it has been observed that some bird populations have been spotted making their way to the same wintering grounds. The specific routes they take may be genetically programmed or learned to varying degrees. Very often, the birds take the same route they arrived. However, some birds return along different routes.
“Every year thousands of migrant birds visit Sri Lanka, but do we know migrants are around us..? To promote observation of migrants and their protection, the FOGSL has launched the MW”, said Dr. Kotagama.” Some of these migrants also need additional help for survival.
“Migrant Watch”(MW) is the latest project launched by the Field Ornithology Group of Sri Lanka (FOGSL) to create awareness among the general public and those who interested in about migrant bird species of Sri Lanka. The Organizers invited the public to join its project to help get more data about presence of migrants in their area. ” Those who would like to participate have only to watch birds in as many places as possible – own home gardens, school premises, workplaces, lakesides, paddy fields -anywhere that is frequented by birds. They can make a list of migrant birds that they can identify in a given location” said Dr. Kotagama, who conducted a lecture, ‘Bird Migration and Bundala Birds’ at the Department of Zoology, Colombo University.
Sri Lanka best known as a birds’ paradise that allow you to watch birds throughout the year because of its favorable climatic conditions, being a tropical island and throughout the country in forests, jungles, lakes lagoons, streams, villas etc.. Out of a total of about 492 species of birds, nearly 250 are resident and 23 are endemic of which the majority is found in the lowland wet zone and the rainforests of the hill country and others are migratory. According to the booklet recently published by one of Sri Lankans leading wild life companies there are 33 birds endemic to the country. Apart from seabirds, with a peak season in the northern summer (May-October), most migratory birds visit Sri Lanka in northern winter (October-April). Consequently this is also the best time to visit Sri Lanka. Within this period the best time probably is February – March when a lot of local birds are starting their breeding season, being significantly more active.
Kumana” is the main bird sanctuary in Sri Lanka, but bird lovers can also visit Bellanwila,Gilimale forest,Kithulgala,Sinharaja and Udawalawa throughout the year. Other interesting locations in the South to view these beautiful birds are the Yala Sanctuary, Lahugala (Bundala), Kalametiya, Wirawila, the two tanks Tissamahara and Deberawewa. The envious of the 55 acre forest around the Kandalama Tank, Hotels and the Cricket ground is rich in bird life and one of the best bird watching locations in the North central province. The visitors will get an opportunity to view the birds around the hotels and there are more than 140 species here living in trees (arboreal) on the ground (terrestrial) and water (aquatic) inclusive of the 4 endemic birds Sri Lanka Spur Fowl, Sri Lanka jungle Fowl, Sri Lankan Green Hora Bill, and Brow capped Babbler.