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Migratory birds along the banks of Bharathappuzha (No.1-Black headed seagulls,Chroicocephalus ridibu


Black Headed Seagulls @ Flight:

I came across a large folks of seagulls constituting hundreds of birds across Irumbiliyam kadavu of Bharathapuzha, in the first week of February2005. It was around four o clock . The noisy birds remained there bathing, preening and searching for food in the warm river water. The familiar call kree kree  aar filled the whole air.

Migratory birds along the banks of Bharathappuzha (No.1-Black headed seagulls,Chroicocephalus ridibundus)

I could see hundreds and hundreds of birds at a glance.  Garrulity was the hall mark of the seagulls. They were noisy and quarrelsome like lower primary school children during recess hours.., whenever they were disturbed by noise or human intrusion, the complete folk started to take off…


They settled down soon after taking two or three rounds in the sky, though they were quarrelsome most them followed the action what their pioneers did. Of course there were rebels as we find in any group. But it was a n incredible experience as they went up and filled the whole azure sky. The noise close similar to human sounds in emotion fills in the air.


They rotate and swoop down and settle again in water again.we feel as though these birds are really tourists engaged in pursuing pleasure. We could trace the sounds of love making, threatening, coaxing, bullying ..But in no way they were sweet. They left the place shortly after the sunset.


A large gullery of The black headed seagulls are these migrants who visits Bharathapuzha basin during January, February and march..They leave the river basin by the beginning of March as water level goes down. This process of migration had been continuing for a long time I have been observing the phenomenon of gull migration since 2005, but the  boat man in the kadavu reported that it had been continuing for a long time. This year when water level level went down early the colony of gulls ended their migration in the first week of February itself.

They can be sighted along the banks of bharathapuzha stretching from Trithala to estuary of bharathappuzha at Ponnani. Still they have a fancy for certain   pockets such as Perassanur kadavu and Kankappuzha kadavu and Kuttippuram kadavu.


Squabble of gulls usually remain in the river water except for a short stay upon the sandy banks where they decorate the river bed with silver bracelet!.The migrants never stayed in the night along the banks but they returned to the estuary of bharathappuzha in the evening shortly after the sunset.


The sea gulls always maintain their body neat and tidy as other birds do. The sounds and the body shape attribute a dollish appearance for the bird; the bird’s head is not really black as the name suggests. As we watch closer, we can realize that it is a kind of grayish color. The adult birds have a fully developed dark hood. Some of the birds in the screech have chocolate brown head or yellowish brown heads. They are longer than crows and some of the are larger than kites.

Migratory birds along the banks of Bharathappuzha (No.1-Black headed seagulls,Chroicocephalus ridibundus)

Migratory birds along the banks of Bharathappuzha in 2007 (No.1-Black headed seagulls,Chroicocephalus ridibundus)

Gulls are considered to be long lived birds. People  have woven myths around the bird and its life span . The people of pacific north island tell us how the world has evolved out. When the great spirit kept all the things, he kept them in separate cedar boxes. The great spirit gifted these boxes to animals who existed before humans. When the animals opened the cedar boxes the corresponding qualities or thing that comprise the world came into existence. For example, when somebody opened the fire, fire came into being upon this world. In this way, water wind seeds mountains came into existence. The great spirit presented a cedar box to gull also. It contained all the light of the world. The seagull coveted the box and refused to open it clouching under its wings. The myth is over and the reality emerges. The sixty three year old gull turned to be  a shattered myth.

Black headed gulls eat insects, fish, seeds and worms and whatever they get .they can be called scavengers as they remove organic litters and dead animals. Seagulls breed in Europe and Asia.Thye seagulls that migrate along the banks of Bharathapuzha is reported to be coming from Europe.The birds were present this year also.when we discuss the migratory birds in Bharathapuzha the first word comes to our mind is Gulls.

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