The severe drought in Tamil Nadu has not spared even the migratory birds of Vedanthangal sanctuary. Indeed, the bird count in the vicinity is at an all time low. According to Vedanthangal forest range officer G. Subhiah, the season has seen a drastic reduction in bird arrival. In fact, the birds have already started leaving the vicinity because the lakes are all dried up. 

Spread over 73 acres, the bird sanctuary is the oldest in the country and is home to birds such as Little Cormorant, Night Heron, Spoon Bill, Little Egret, Grey Heron, White Ibis, Pintail, Pond Heron, Cattle Egret, Shoveller Duck, Dab Chick, Indian Moorhen, Grey Pelican and Open-Bill Stork.

Last year, at the same time, close to 35,000 migratory birds visited the sanctuary and thousands of chicks had successfully nested and vacated it by July-end. This year, the bird count was just 22,000 and most of them have already left the sanctuary. According to the forest department and bird watchers, deficit summer showers and the monsoon failure has led to low migration.

Whenever the monsoon fails, the foresters usually divert water from Maduranthagam reservoir and then release fingerlings to help the nesting birds.But this year, water is at an all-time premium. 

More than 26 species of migratory birds and ducks have made Vedanthangal their second home. Till May 25, 2017, close to 90,678 visitors had stepped into the sanctuary. Birds from Siberia, Russia, parts of Europe, Chile and Brazil flock in large numbers to this place every year. Migratory birds from Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia and Sri Lanka also enhance the beauty of the area. 

Currently, district forest officers are examining the water levels in surrounding wildlife sanctuaries and reserve forests. The only positive note currently is that the reserve forests in Nilgiris, Krishnagiri and Hogenakkal have received good rainfall in the past two weeks.