Latur : Dhananjay Gutte, a bird lover, found a large colony of these birds, called Heronari, in the catchment area of Lake Masalga in Nilanga taluka. Currently, around 250 colorful crabs live in these trees with more than 400 of them. Raju Kasambe, Deputy Director of the Bombay Natural History Society (BNH) visited the site.
Dhananjay Gutte was wandering around the wetland area of Lake Masalga a few days ago when he heard birdsong and out of curiosity headed in that direction. There he saw hundreds of colorful crabs, their chicks, nesting in four acacia trees. He passed this information on to the Forest Department, BNHS and some bird watchers. BNHS Deputy Director Raju Kasambe, Forest Range Officer Sachin Rampure, Forest Range Officer Nilesh Birajdar, Biodiversity Committee Member Shahaji Pawar and Researcher Dhananjay Gutte visited the colony and counted the birds. He found 230 nests, 440 birds, big and small. Considering the number of nests there, Kasambe estimated that there should be more birds than this one. These birds, which are listed as endangered species, generally choose habitats with water, food availability, and breeding facilities. There they build nests. Their breeding season is from February to June. These birds feed on fish, frogs, snails and other small aquatic animals. They have a high content of nitrogen and phosphorous in their feces and can be used as a fertilizer for agriculture. This is the first time that such a colony has been found in the Latur district.
Farmers love for birds.
We have been observing these birds for about five years. They don’t bother us or our farm. A few days ago someone had asked me for 80,000 rupees for the acacia trees in his colony. But I didn’t sell them for these birds. I will not cut down the trees, said the farmer Gundappa Dhanure.