Open billed stork no 5 migratory birds along the cost of Bharathappuzha
Open billed storks are one of the local migrants that we find along the banks of Bharathapuzha..It wouldn’t be correct to say that they search for food along the banks of the river or in the shallow waters of the river itself because I could spot the birds only twice along the banks or shallow waters of the river though I could find them several times on inland wetlands, their food searching habitat.I spotted them in Bharathapuzha by Randal near PattIkkayal wet lands at five p. m. on 26.3. 2013,
the other being on the wet delta like sand banks at Chamravattam ,Bharathappuzha river.They were sighted even if the wet land turned dry following drought. A folk of storks were found searching for food in Chalissery dry rice fields at four fifteen pm on 28.3. 2013.The birds were seen foraging in eastern Anakkara fields ion 26.3. 2013.so their favourite food searching area is inland wet land.though nests of open billed storks have been reported to have found at Kumarakam bird sanctuary,the open billed stork can be taken as a local migrant.
Open bill storks that we find along the banks of Nila river are greyish white or light smoky grey with glossy black wings and tails.comparing with other waders their legs are proportionally short and its colour ranges from pinkish to smoky grey.
As I could find a folk of open billed storks numbering thirteen in the fields east of Anakkara at 4.30 on 26.3 .2013 and another folk of birds numbering seven in the shallow waters of the river near Randal near toPattikkayal at 4.36 on the same day . So we can assume that there could be different folks of these storks foraging along the banks.
When I advanced closer to a folk searching food at Chalissery rice fields six out of eight of the birds flew away though two remained still a few yards away.They raised themselves to the air with wings flapping interspersed with gliding .
As they attained altitude they started to soar and later they descended rapidly on the western end of the fields.Open billed storks make long distance migration in response to food availability and weather conditions.Storks are broad winged soaring birds which rely on moving between thermals on hot air for sustained flight.Thermals are columns of rising air that are formed on the ground through the warming of surface by the sunlight.Once a thermal life is encountered the stork keeps to soar within thermals.after attaining altitude within the same thermal .They may fly off to the next thermal towards destination.
As I recall the experience of a folk of sheep searching food hastily in Nayyur wet lands.They were feeding on a kind of snails ,frogs ,fishes and earth worms perhaps.the gap between the mandibles of the beak facilitates handling the favourite varieties of mollusk and snail prey very easily.The mandibles of the beak meet at the tip.
Open billed storks have been found searching for food along with white necked storks and herons. We can find fables in dutch mythology that suggest babies are brought by storks.Storks nesting on ones roof meant good luck often in the form of family happiness. Open billed storks are found from mid july to march mainly in the inland wet lands along the banks of Bharathapuzha. Thus the major migratory birds along the banks of Bharathapuzha include, Black headed seagull, Moorhen, Bronze winged jacana, Openbilled stork & Ibis.