Karnala bird sanctuary: Panvel
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The Karnala bird sanctuary has commissioned a conservation and research study on the migratory Oriental dwarf kingfisher. Pairs of the migratory bird have been arriving here for the last five years and stay for four months. During this period they lay and hatch eggs besides. The bird-watchers believe that the black-backed kingfisher or three-toed kingfisher arrive here from southern India or Sri Lanka.
Of four pairs that were seen, two have been documented. Officials of Karnala bird sanctuary have tasked a forest guard Yuvraj Marathe, bird-water Omkar Kharat and a worker Sunil Bhagat to conserve the birds since June. Visitors to the sanctuary have been banned from accessing small streams in the densely shaded Karnala forest—the oriental dwarf kingfisher’s preferred habitat.
Yuvraj Marathe said, “Three persons are involved in conservation and research study of the migratory Oriental dwarf kingfisher. Pairs have been arriving here for the last five years and stay from June to September. During this period, they lay eggs, incubate and hatch eggs besides feeding the chicks before flying out. Small cement dishes are kept with adequate water and the water is being changed frequently since May.” Bird watcher Omkar Kharat (22) from Parel said, “These birds arrive from south India. This year, four pairs were noticed inside the sanctuary but two are documented. Surprisingly, one of the documented pairs lost their chicks and nest due to the heavy rain in August. Another round of breeding happened and the chicks are now being fed... We are eagerly waiting for them to fly out.”
Kharat said that the oriental dwarf kingfishers grow up to 13 cm in length at most. “The birds fly at a speed of bullet. The young ones are fed with geckos, skinks, crabs, snails, frogs, crickets and dragonflies,” he said.