Threatentened flamigos of Manchlapur
High tension overhead wires poses a serious hazard for the flamingos of Manchlapur Lake.
Raichur district of Karnataka state is the home for nearly 250 species of birds. It is also the second home for many migratory birds.
Manchlapur Lake, which has turned out to be the boon for large number of migratory and resident birds. Nearly 194 species of birds have been recorded in this lake (Ebird data) by the local bird watchers. Lesser Flamingos, Greater Flamingos, Pied Avocet, Spot Billed Pelicans, Spoonbills, and Bar Headed Goose are some of them to name. In February 2019, the arrival of lesser flamingos to the lake is the first record for entire Karnataka state (Sighting credits: Naresh Kondapur).
Threats for these winged visitors
As shown in the above figure 1, there is an another lake which is very near to Manchlapur Lake called Merchad Lake which is around 2 km (aerial distance).
As a part of their daily routine, both bar headed goose and flamingos will be taking flight to the Merchad Lake and return to the Manchlapur Lake. This happens around 4 to 5 times a day. The route which these birds take is causing a great threat for them. The high tension power lines which are situated between these two lakes have become a major threat for flamingos as well as bar headed goose.
After the sun sets, the flock of flamingos and few bar headed goose will move to Marched Lake and surrounding agriculture fields by crossing the high tension power lines. The bird’s collision with power lines was early witnessed by the local villagers but no one came forward to report the incident.
On March 10th 2019, we were on our regular birding trip, enjoying the bird watching by taking photographs by standing on the bunds of Manchlapur Lake. Flamingos were flying around us. The view from binocular gave an amazing sight. Suddenly something strange has been sighted from the binoculars. A poor flamingo was swinging on the wire –it had hit the high tension cables! We rushed to the location to know what exactly had happened.
Our study revealed the shocking news
After reaching the location, we discovered that nearly 4 to 5 flamingos were burnt and they were lying below the high-tension cables. When we surveyed nearby field, we could found some feathers of dead flamingos all over the fields. A local farmer, Venkat Reddy of Manchlapur village, who travel daily on this route revealed that a few days ago he has witnessed around 15 flamingos dead after hitting the wires.
He also added that the bird shut due to collision if occurring in the presence of village people, will be carried by them to their homes or else will be the food for some feral dogs or foxes which roam in the agriculture fields.
Collision of flamingos with electric lines is identified as a threat. Though conservative measures have been suggested by many naturalists, most of the steps are yet to be taken. Immediate action is needed to conserve these winged visitors. In addition to this, many construction works are starting nearby Manchlapur Lake. This may result in the loss of habitation in coming days. The lake has got all the potential to be a conservation reserve. Our North Karnataka birders network is working on this issue to conserve Manchlapur Lake. Hope we will come up with positive results in the coming days.