Suryakant Jena

The population of Monsoon birds swarming the Bhitarkanika National Park in Odisha this year has seen an impressive growth of around 11%.

As per the week-long avian head count exercise conducted from August 23, as many as 108639 birds have been sighted in the famous national park this year as against 97866 birds spotted in 2020 monsoon season.

This year, the direct count method employed for the bird counting showed a rise of around 10773 birds in the national park. At least 22828 nests were sighted during the enumeration exercise, said Bhitarkanika DFO Jagyadutta Pati.

Maximum number of birds were witnessed at three locations, Matha Dia, Laxmiprasad Dia and Durga Prasad Dia, said the DFO.

Abundant fish in the river and creeks besides less human interference and good climate makes the park a congenial breeding place for the birds.

Every year, local migrant birds Kaparkhai, Anjana, Rani Baga, Panikua, Gendalia and Khaira from several parts of Odisha and outside flock the national park during the monsoon to roost and feed making it one of the most prominent heronries of the state.

These birds generally build nests on Guan, Bani, and Kerua trees in the region.

Monsoon birds that arrive at the national park return with babies to their homes by the end of October every year before winter migratory birds from northern countries like Russia, Central Asia, Ladakh, and Himalayas land in the national park in November.