Keep an eye on the birds

It’s Bird Counting Month and time for the public to do their bit to monitor birds in their areas, writes Malaka Rodrigo, Pix by Fonny De Fonseka

I’ll never forget my first sighting of the flamingos at Bundala. Standing on their long legs, they bent their long necks clumsily to feed on the crustaceans in the brackish waters of the Bundala lagoon.

“There are flocks numbering several hundred flamingos,” said our guide mentioning that it was not a big deal to see flamingos at Bundala during the migration period at that time. This was a decade ago.

Oriole White-throated Kingfisher

The flamingos have flown from Bundala. The reasons were revealed by a study conducted by the Australian scientist Maria Belio.

“The crustaceans living in Bundala’s brackish water were depleted as the lagoon area is filled with fresh water released by the Kirindi Oya development project. This reduced the food availability for flamingos and the birds decided to fly away finding new grounds,” commented Maria at a forum.

It is not only important bird habitats like Bundala that are prone to environmental degradation, but every other bird habitat, including our own home gardens. The Magpie robin that used to sing every morning may be now silent – perhaps because the tall mango tree in your garden has been cut, while the crow population in your area may be on a sudden increase because of the garbage dumped carelessly. These are the early signs of the changing surroundings for birds.

One step towards being more conscious of these changes and to try to change this trend would be to keep a tab of the birds in your area. The Field Ornithology Group of Sri Lanka (FOGSL) based at the University of Colombo has declared December as bird counting month providing people an opportunity to count and record the birds around.

Just observe birds in as many places as possible – your own home garden, school premises, workplace, lakesides, paddy fields -anywhere that is frequented by birds and make a list of birds that you can identify in a given location. The list should include the date, time period of observation, location, weather at the time, the habitat that the bird was observed in, birds seen and the name and contact details of the observer.

The list can be emailed to or posted to FOGSL, Department of Zoology, University of Colombo, Colombo 3. Participants can also enter data directly to

Top to the page  |  E-mail  |  views[1]
Other Plus Articles
HE had heard her
Keep an eye on the birds
Exams Department gets zero for unfair Maths paper - Letter to the Editor
That first Christmas - Letter to the Editor
Christians have a duty to make this a ‘green’ season - Letter to the Editor
Blessed to have had a devoted aunt who was a devout Muslim and dear friend - Appreciation
Proud soldier who proved himself a noble son of Lanka - Appreciation
Lively, loving, selfless and ever-helpful – that was Casi - Appreciation
At home with Jesus - Appreciation
A life lived like a poem - Appreciation
Tribute to a selfless teacher - Appreciation
Goodbye sweet princess - Appreciation
Those glorious days at GTC Maharagama - Appreciation
The golden thread in the family tapestry - Appreciation
Immortalised on Mars, but hardly known in land of birth
The many wonders of the gift of giving
Christmas in the City of Angels
AFLAC’S candles light up the faces of cancer patients
“To worship rightly is to love each other”
‘Satya’ comes out with a bolder statement
Swanee touch returns with new look tie-dye
Galle goes literary once again
SVP spreads seasonal cheer
Santhush and Chanchala
The young and the wild: A tribute to a friend


Reproduction of articles permitted when used without any alterations to contents and a link to the source page.
© Copyright 2008 | Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka. All Rights Reserved.| Site best viewed in IE ver 6.0 @ 1024 x 768 resolution