Wetlands in an agriculture-dominated landscape are known to support high bird diversity. Besides supporting bird populations these wetlands also provide ecosystem services in the form of cattle grazing, harvest of multiple wetland products (e.g., reeds, fish, silt, etc.), and water for agricultural and domestic purposes. These wetlands support non-breeding as well as breeding populations of water birds, including those that form heronries.Heronry birds are flagship species and good indicators of the health of the wetland ecosystem (Kushlan 1993; Frederick et al. 2009). Monitoring of heronry birds, hence, is useful in understanding the impact of pollution on the wetlands of agriculture-dominated landscapes and patterns off climate. The simple aim of the Heronries Census is to collect counts of 'apparently occupied nests' (aon) of herons, egrets and other colonial waterbirds from as many heronries as possible each year.
Many heronries hold a dozen or more nesting pairs, even a hundred or more, and occupy traditional, well-known sites that are active for many decades. Smaller and shorter-lived heronries must also be included in the counts, however, to ensure that the data represent the whole population. Even single nests of any of the normally colonial heron or egret species are relevant to the Heronries Census, even if only occupied for one season.
Changes in the numbers of nests over time are a clear measure of population trends. The more heronries that can be counted each year, the more certain we can be of population trends at national, regional and local scales.
Some of the traditional Heronries in Ernakulam District have been identified. But many more remain undiscovered.Therefore we need to make an all out effort to locate and identify as much as Heronries and we need as many volunteers to help us in this effort.
So please come to Mangalavanam on Saturday 11th May 2019 for a detailed discussion and planning.