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Vedanthankal Bird Sanctuary is a 30-hectare (74-acre) protected area located in the Kancheepuram District of the state of Tamil Nadu, India. The sanctuary is about 75 kilometres (47 mi) from Chennai on National Highway 45 (NH45), south of Chengalpattu. More than 40,000 birds, including 26 rare species, from various parts of the world visit the sanctuary during the migratory season every year.
Vedanthangal is home to migratory birds such as pintail, garganey, grey wagtail, blue-winged teal, common sandpiper and the like.
Vedanthangal is the oldest water bird sanctuary in the country. Vedanthangal in Tamil language means 'hamlet of the hunter'. This area was a favourite hunting spot for the local landlords in the early 1700s. The region attracted a variety of birds because it was dotted with small lakes that acted as feeding grounds for the birds. Realising its ornithological importance, the British government undertook steps to develop Vedanthangal into a bird sanctuary as early as 1798. This was established in 1858 by the order of the Collector of Chingleput.
The best time to visit this sanctuary is from November to March. During this time, birds are seen busy in building and maintaining their nests.
Villagers near this sanctuary are very concerned about the Sanctuary and the birds coming to this sanctuary, and they have taken many serious steps to avoid disturbance to the flow of birds.
The Vedanthangal lake bird sanctuary has a tradition of the people actively protecting birds coming to the area since time immemorial. The local people understood the relationship between birds and the productivity of their crops even before the concept of wildlife conservation came into vogue. They knew that the bird droppings in the water created guano which acted as fertilizer. Towards the end of the 18th century local villagers complained to the collector of Chengalpet Lionel Palace, about the British soldiers shooting the birds. They demanded and obtained a 'Cowle' from the collector (Mr Place, Collector of Chingleput 1796-1798) to protect the birds. In 1936 the collector officially recognized the lake as a sanctuary. In 1962 it was given the legal status of reserved forest under the Madras Forest Act.
Several accounts of the sanctuary were published in the mid-19th Century. Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary is one of the oldest bird sanctuaries in India, and has been fiercely protected by the local population for well over 250 years. In 1936, the park was notified as a sanctuary, and in 1962, the Madras Forest Act legally accorded the status of a reserve forest to Vedanthangal. Ten years later, the place was declared as a wildlife sanctuary.
In government order (G. O. Ms. No. 199 E&F (FR V(1)) Dept. Dated 8.7.1988) the area has been declared as Vedanthangal Lake Bird Sanctuary, under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.
In 1967 a rest house was constructed for the convenience of visiting inspecting officers and tourists.
The area had a compact grove of more than 500 Barringtonia trees earlier. An additional 100 trees were planted in 1973 and over 1,000 trees were planted in 1996.
Karikili bird sanctuary is located at a distance of around 9 km from the Vedanthangal bird sanctuary. The best time for bird watching is in the morning.
The Vedanthangal lake bird sanctuary features thousands of birds coming from various countries, some of which can be easily identified. Some easily found bird species include Cormorants, Darter, Grebes, Large Egret, Little Egrets, Moorhen, Night Herons, Paddy Bird, Painted Stork, Pintails, Pond Heron, Sandpiper, Shovellers, Terns, White Ibis and many more. The migratory birds include Garganey Teals Canada, Snake Bird Sri Lanka, Grey Pelican Australia, Grey Heron Bangladesh, Open-billed Stork Bangladesh, Glossy Ibis Sri Lanka, Painted Stork Siberia, Spoonbill Burma and the Spot Bill Duck.
Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary is located near Vedanthangal Karikili in the district of Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu.
The Vedanthangal lake is situated 122 m above sea level. It supplies water to 250 acres of agricultural land around the area. The west and south sides of the lake are bordered by a long bund, whereas the northern and eastern sides extend to the agricultural lands. Input of water into this lake is through four small canals. maximum depth of the lake is 5 meters. The area receives an average annual rainfall of 10 mm, mostly from North-East monsoon.
Flora: Barringtonia acutangula, Acacia nilotica, Alangium salviflorum trees and dry evergreen scrub and thorn forests.
Fauna: Monkeys and other common mammals can be spotted.
Avian-Fauna: Garganey teals, glossy ibis, grey heron, grey pelican, open-billed stork, painted stork,vsnake bird, spoonbill, spot bill duck, cormorants, darter, grebes, large egret, little egrets, moorhen, night herons, paddy bird, painted stork, pintails, pond heron, sandpiper, shovellers, terns, white ibis. They are migrating from Europe to Vedanthangal during November and December because they are facing severe cold climate in Europe.
Several steps have been taken by the Government of Tamil Nadu to protect the area. Water channels have been built by the Public Works Department to facilitate water supply to the sanctuary from neighbouring lakes.
In 2013, two lakh Barringtonia saplings were planted in the sanctuary to allow birds to nest. Also the Vedanthangal lake was desilted and deepened to hold more water.
Media related to Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary at Wikimedia Commons
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