Oottupara in Ponthanpuzha forest near Alapra in Kottayam district of Kerala is gaining the attention of nature lovers as a large variety of migratory birds are arriving in the area. In fact, almost all species of migratory birds reaching the state could be sighted at Oottupara.
“Birds such as ‘theekkakka’ (Malabar trogon or fire crow), ‘nakamohan’ (Indian Paradise-flycatcher) and ‘thathachinnan’ (Vernal hanging parrot) even choose this area for breeding ,” says Praveen Kumar Alapra, a civil police officer hailing from the area who is also a wildlife photographer.
Recently, 20 thathachinnan birds had arrived for breeding, he adds. Thathachinnan is a small parrot having the size of an ‘attakuruvi’ (Baya weaver) and is also known as ‘vazhakili.’ Thathachinnan moves around as a pair or in small groups comprising four or five birds and builds its nest in the hollows of trees.
The nest inside the tree hollows would be lined with a cushion made of green leaves for laying eggs and providing comfort to chicks. The eggs have a clear white colour and it is the female bird which builds the nest and incubates the eggs.
The arrival of migratory birds at Oottupara is a recent phenomenon. Praveen Kumar says that the climate change over the past decade and a decrease in the local human population might have attracted the migratory birds to the area. “The arrival of birds which normally prefer thick forests for breeding is also proof that the forest here has regained its natural condition,” he says. While Oottupara is technically in Pathanamthitta district, the forest area is within Kottayam district.
How to reach?
From Kottayam, take KK Road. Via Karukachal, Pathanadu, Manimala, Ponthanpuzha and Alapra, reach Prayattupadi. From there, take a left to enter the Oottupara area of the forest.