Koonthankulam Bird Sanctuary
Koonthankulam Birds Sanctuary is a unique sanctuary actively protected and managed by the Koonthakulam village community. The largest breeding water bird reserve in south India attracts more than one lakh birs annually. It is located 35 kms away from Tirunelveli in Tirunelveli Thisaianvilai Road comprising of Koonthankulam and Kadankulam tanks covering an extent of 129.33 hectares and declared as sanctuary in 1994.
It is significant that the local people have taken keen interest in protecting this sanctuary and they live together in total symbiotic relationship.
The birds coming to their backyards for five generations are protected vehemently by villagers and regarded as harbingers of luck. The excreta of birds–‘guano’ is collected by villagers in summer along with silt to use as fertilizer in their fields. From children to grannies in the village all protect them, their nests and fledgelings. Chicks fallen are taken care of in the rescue centre till they are able to fly on their own. Anybody troubling the nests are punished inn their own methods of shaving the head, or making the procession on donkey.
The Babul plantation of 30 ha. in koonthakulam is th emain breeding ground.
More than 43 water birds both resident and migratory are visiting every year regularly in the month of January/February and used to vacate in the month of July/August after nesting, hatching and nurturing the young once. Many large water birds especially Painted stork, Flamingos have been nesting annually around koonthankulam village over a long period . Accacia nilotica trees grown in the tank foreshores by the Social Forestry Division of Forest Department and also in village trees.
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