Students walk to school crossing lake and sanctuary.
Students with a rescued bird at Atapaka Bird Sanctuary in Krishna district on their return from school.— PHOTO: T. APPALA NAIDU
Taking the four-km walk for crossing the Kolleru Lake and the Atapaka Bird Sanctuary, is one of the chores of their life for more than 80 students of Komati Lanka in West Godavari district.
These students, aged between 7 and 16, make a trip between Komati Lanka and Atapaka and Kaikaluru mandal headquarters in Krishna district for schooling everyday.
“Most of the days in a year, the walk, two-km on each side of the border, is spent observing numerous species of birds.
Often, much delightful part of going to school is to catch the birds, which are spotted in an unconscious state or dead on our way,” says M. Dhana Laxmi, a class IV student.
Among the groups of students spotted walking on the road, that splits the lake from the sanctuary, some children, including girls, have not attained the age either to be able to handle or pedal the bicycle.
Thus, all these students enjoy the walk and got habituated to the unique lifestyle of the avian guests. In the morning, the students start their walk while migratory birds are leaving the sanctuary in search of the day’s prey/food.
Place of interest
“Sanctuary staff inquires with us whether we found any hunter or any bird dead along our way. We never allow any of us to take any bird that is dead to home,” a group of friends G. Jessica, P. Mishaik and S. Karthik of Sri Vivekananda Public School, Atapaka, told The Hindu . When asked to share their experiences of observing the birds and laborious task of walking, a majority of students say that Pelicans’ nesting location is their all time resting and hangout place.
In winter and early summer, for those who can manage to stay at the sanctuary in the evening, fascinating scenes could be witnessed while batches of students take their day’s last stretch of walk home. Winged visitors come back to the sanctuary at that time. These students make an attempt every time to hum the sounds of the birds back to them, but never receive any response. They, however, never give up it.