Winged visitors, guarded by the love of a dozen women | India News – Times of India

 Winged visitors, guarded by the love of a dozen women | India News - Times of India

Bhubaneswar: They come in hundreds every winter. And every year, they are cared for and cared for by a dozen.
Archandi It is one of the oldest in Odisha. Wetlands. Surrounded by paddy fields, this 1.2 square kilometer area is the winter home. Migratory birds: Northern Pintail, Northern Shawler, Eurasian Wigeon, Painted Stork, Cotton Pygmy Goose, Comb Duck, Grey-headed Leaping, common Snipe, Ruddy Shelduck, Red Crested Pochard, Common Pochard, Black-headed Ibis, Gray Heron, Purple Heron and Ruddy Shelducks.
From September to March, Arachandi is an ornithologist’s or even an amateur birder’s idea of ​​paradise. But, of course, humans, poaching and/or pollution, are a threat.
A group of 12 locals are standing in front of them. Women – Founding members of Archandi Pakhi Surakhya Samiti – from the nearby village of Nastipur. Members visit the wetland every day to clean the area of ​​litter. And they are committed to it. Protection.
Surya Kanti Mohanty, a housewife, says that she saw some people killing these birds for meat a few years ago. And a growing number Bird watchers means pollution. “I felt that something had to be done. I talked to other women in my village…first we spread the message through the men in our family. When that worked, we went out with placards saying Visitors are requested not to disturb the birds,” said Mohanty.
“When we saw that migratory birds were hunting for food in the paddy fields, we requested the farmers to keep the farming organic, which is not only good for the birds but also for the producers. ” says Snihanjali Biswal, a member of the group.
The women also request visitors, whether in the wetlands or at the Archandi temple, not to play loud music, and keep the area plastic-free. Their unlikely allies in conservation are crocodiles. The crocs living in the deep waters of Arachandi are a strong deterrent for humans who love the fishing grounds.
Efforts are paying off. Arachandi attracts more winged pilgrims now than before. Lalit Mohan Panda, secretary of the Center for Rural Tourism and Development, a voluntary organization that conducts an annual bird census in Arachandi.
But only a dozen people can, however fierce their determination. “Archandi has huge potential for bird watching and rural tourism,” says expert ornithologist Gahar Abedin. Subindu Malik, former honorary wildlife warden of Kharda, says Arachandi needs the government’s help.
Kerala, Goa and Tamil Nadu are India’s best examples of agro-ecotourism around wetlands. Hopefully Odisha will be the same. “We will conduct a survey and take steps for wetland development…and support conservation initiatives by local women groups,” said Susantha Nanda, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF), Odisha. told TOI.
The women of Nastipur, however, will not wait for government officials. They will continue to do what they do because they love birds.
“Ruddy Shelduck couples are my favourites. They are great lovers. You never see a single Ruddy Shelduck. If one of them dies, the other dies of starvation,” says Mohanty.
Rudy Shelducks and Arachnid protect every other bird with love.

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