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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Mattuthavani ........ and the pea(fowl)cocks.....

Mattuthavani is the name of a place in Madurai… the name probably originated from the sale activities of cattle… now there is an integrated bus stand purportedly the second largest bus terminus next only to Koyambedu bus terminus in Chennai. 

Be it Zoos or in Nature – the National bird of India, peacock is most attractive. Things happen naturally in the wild ……..  Travelling by train, one gets to see more of them around Kovilpatti, Sri Villiputhur, Tuticorin, Tirunelveli  areas….. then there is this place once a renowned seat of the Bharatanatyam ~ Viralimalai, which should have been a prosperous village in Chola era. Peacocks are abundant in the region and Viralimalai forms a sanctuary for the birds.

Peafowl are two Asiatic and one African species of flying bird in the genus Pavo of the pheasant family, Phasianidae, best known for the male's extravagant eye-spotted tail covert feathers, which it displays as part of courtship. The male is called a peacock, the female apeahen, and the offspring peachicks. The Indian Peafowl or Blue Peafowl (Pavo cristatus) is a large and brightly coloured bird of the pheasant family native to South Asia.  These stiff and elongated feathers of the male  are raised into a fan and quivered in a display during courtship. These birds forage for berries, grains but will also prey on snakes, lizards, and small rodents. Their loud calls make them easy to detect, and in forest areas often indicate the presence of a predator such as a tiger.

Peacocks are polygamous, and the breeding season is spread out. They lay eggs which are incubated by female – the chicks are taken care of by the mothers.  Peacock eggs take between 28 and 30 days to incubate and hatch.  At this stage and when their young they could fall prey to predators. 

Here is something translated from an interesting report read in ‘Dinamalar’….. the Mattuthavani  bus stand systematically replaced the Palanganatham and old bus stands of Madurai.  

Dinamalar reports that at Mattuthavani lake area – in the house of an advocate of the High Court by name R Gandhi – something different was noticed.   In the fully grown vegetations in vacant lands, lot of peafowls used to assemble and some dogs were seen circling a place, where some eggs were found.  Mr R Gandhi and his team of advocates saw 7 eggs and were concerned of its safety.   They prepared a sandbucket, kept those eggs found and kept an electric bulb too.  In a couple of days, from two eggs peacocks came out and they hatched the other eggs too, in the same fashion.  Those chicks that came out were fed glucose through ink-fillers. 

Now the peafowl chicks are happily playing with small kids over there.  They plan to grow them a little bigger and release them into the wild with the help of Forestry Department to ensure their safety.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

28th Nov. 2013


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