ORNITHOLOGY IN GOA
Many field workers have studied the bird life of Goa. Dr. Salim Ali, and R. B. Grubh conducted a 16-day field trip in 1972. This was followed by Ulhas Rane in 1981-82. B. C. Saha and J. M. Dasgupta published their studies for the Zoological Survey of India in 1992. Thereafter, Heinz Laner, a German ornithologist, settled in Goa published his account in the Journal of Bombay Natural History Society in 1999 taking the tally of the Birds of Goa to 382. He followed it up with his book "Birds of Goa" published in 2003.
Goa, is endowed with a wide variation in the habitats, ranging from forests to scrubby tract and dense forest. These serves as a ideal ground for nesting and breeding of birds. Over the last few years Ornithological studies is gaining lots of importance in Goa with thousands of bird watchers pouring in every year from all over the world.
AREAS OF ORNITHOLOGICAL IMPORTANCE
There is no such place where birds are not found. From the mountains and the forest and the lakes and the coastal belt to your own backyard, birds have become a part and parcel of the urban as well as the village setting. From point of view of the visiting birdwatchers few places can be recommended for sighting maximum number of birds in a relatively shorter time.1. Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary, Ponda for most of the forest birds
2. Mollem Wildlife Sanctuary and Dudhsagar Falls for some rare birds like the Mountain Imperial Pigeon and a few raptors.
3. Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary, Sattari again for forest birds
4. Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary, Canacona for forest birds
5. Forest around the Mayem Lake, Bicholim
6. Carambolim Lake, Old-Goa for Fresh water birds
7. St. Cruz Marshes for waders
8. Morjim beach especially for sea-gulls
9. Ribandar patto during low-tide for waders
10. Cumbharjua canal for all 5 species of Kingfishers and nesting Brahminy Kites
11. Pilar Lake for fresh water birds
12. Salt pans at Baga for waders
13. Baga Hills
14. Salaulim and Anjunem Dam areas
Keep an eye open for fruiting trees especially Ficus spp. And flowering Silk-Cotton (Salmalia spp.) or Pongara (Erythrina Spp.). But whichever area one chooses the best advantage is to be an 'early-riser'.
Birds all over the world are facing threats. 11% of the birds across the globe are facing the same fate that befell the Dodo of Mauritius. Out of the 1200 species found in India, 79 are threatened, with 8 listed as Critical and in immediate danger of extinction. Further 57 species are listed as Near Threatened and 10 as Endangered by International Union for Nature Conservation, U.K. (IUCN). One of the major reasons for population decrease is habitat loss or degradation resulting from unsustainable and often illegal deforestation and wetland conversion for agriculture, exotic timber monoculture or other developmental activities. This change in land use has a detrimental impact on habitats and habitat destruction is the single most important cause of species extinction. Goa is no different and with rapid urbanization is slowly loosing some of its good bird habitats.
The "Kumeri" or shifting cultivation has eaten up large chunks of pristine forests and though a cultural and tradition of nomadic tribes and landless agriculturists, has done irreparable damage. Though, as a result of a ban by law there has been a reduction in this practice, the conversion of forest into cashew plantation is continuing unabated till date.
The only wetland Important Bird Area (IBA) in Goa, the Carambolim Lake, is dying a slow death due to the growth of Salvinia molesta. Though the Govt., few individuals and NGO's have taken efforts in removing the weed, better efforts are required to save this heritage site from eutrophication.
Some of the Threatened Birds of Goa
Sr.No. Common name Scientific name Status (IUCN) 1 White backed Vulture Gyps bengalensis Critically Endangered 2 Long-billed Vulture Gyps indicus Critically Endangered 3 Nilgiri Wood Pigeon Columba elphinstonii Vulnerable 4 Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus Vulnerable 5 Greater Spotted Eagle Aquila clanga Vulnerable 6 Indian Skimmer Rynchops albicollis Vulnerable 7 Darter Anhinga melanogaster Vulnerable 8 White Ibis Threskiornis melanocephalus Vulnerable 9 Malabar Pied Hornbill Anthracoceros coronatus Near Threatened 10 Great Pied Hornbill Buceros bicornis Near Threatened
Goa is one of the few states which have maximum area under legal protection. Goa has as many as six Wildlife Sanctuaries. They are
1. The Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildife Sanctuary and Mollem National Park, Sanguem
2. The Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary, Canacona
3. The Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary, Mollem
4. The Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary, Valpoi
5. The Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary, Sanguem
6. The Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, Chorao
Four of these sanctuaries are a part of the Sanhyadris, a biodiversity hotspot, thus making Goa the only state in India to protect the complete Western Ghat section within the state. Endemism is very high in this area, with 7 species recorded from Goa of the 16 endemics in the Western Ghats.BACK
The most effective means of conservation appears at Syngenta Ltd. at Corlim (Tiswadi). The factory compound contains 2 shallow ponds that give undisturbed shelter to Goa's only known heronry and a safe roosting site to a number of storks, egrets and cormorants.