Mandya: For years it was a dhobi ghat used by washermen, who dried their clothes here. But now forest officials have come to realise they were occupying a nesting site of an exotic bird species, the blue-tailed bee eater, and have given the washermen the marching orders. Also, steps have been taken to protect the site to allow the birds to nest in peace.
The nesting area spread over 2.5 acres in Naguvanahalli, on the banks of the river Cauvery, close to Srirangapatna, has been fenced with barbed wire. And in more safety measures, dried sticks and poles have been placed at convenient places to protect it from intruders.
Also, to ensure that the washermen keep away from the site, the forest department has constructed a “soapina katte,” where they can wash and dry their clothes at a safe distance from it.
Declared the Melapura Blue-Tailed Bee Eater Conservation Reserve, the site which is part of the Ranganatittu Bird Sanctuary, sees one of the largest congregation of the Bee Eater birds nests, making it rare, says Deputy Conservator of Forests, V Yedukondalu.
While the barbed wire fence protects the area from grazing cattle, which destroyed the eggs of these birds, even photographers will have to use a watch tower to capture the birds on their lenses during the nesting period, that begins at the end of January. After 20 days of incubation, the eggs hatch and the birds remain here till June before flying away to arrive again the next year.