Bhubaneswar: The October Phailin that hit the State and left trail of destruction, is presumed to have distracted the winged guests in their miles-long flight to Bhitarkanika in Kendrapara district this year, if sharp fall in bird census figures in the national park is anything to go by.
“This year a total of 68,514 birds were enumerated in Bhitarkanika national park compared to 81,701 last year,” Rajnagar DFO Kedar Swain said.
Environmentalists believe that the drop in about 13,000 numbers is huge and attribute it to the recent natural disaster that ravaged the state.
“In 2010, Bhitarkaninaka had witnessed about 60% drop in migratory bird population. In 2009, 1.20 lakh winged visitors had thronged the famous Ramsar wetland site but the figure had dropped to 45,610 in 2010. That time unstable and erratic weather condition had led to the drop in numbers. But this year, the numbers dwindled due to the effect of cyclone Phailin, which caused heart-rending devastation in the coastal region,” said environmentalist Shatrugna Tarai.
Citing the fall in migratory birds visiting Chilika this year as well, Tarai reasoned that the birds need a conducive atmosphere to stay in their winter haunts. Fear of survival in adverse weather condition could be a reason behind deterring the winged guests visiting the preferred vacation spots, he stated.
Chilika, Asia’s largest brackish water lagoon witnessed a sharp drop in the population of migratory birds. Figures show, during the two-day bird census that ended this Sunday, 7,19,262 birds were counted in Chilika. Of them, 7,07,584 were detected to be migratory birds and 11,678 resident birds.
Last year, 8,77,322 birds were found in Chilika.
Ornithologists too feel that many of them who trans-migrate from Siberia, Ladakh, Lake Mansarovar and the Himalayan region, find to be fatigued after their long flight and they always need a soothing and relaxing atmosphere, for which sometimes they extend the vacation period.
Birds from far off places including Caspian Sea, Lake Baikal, remote parts of Russia, central and South East Asia, Ladakh and Himalayas flock to these places every winter for feeding and roosting. They start their homeward journey with the onset of summer.