Nitesh Kumar Sahoo

The number of migratory birds visiting Chilika lake has declined significantly with the largest brackish water lagoon of Asia hosting over one lakh less winged guests this year compared to last year.

The annual bird census in the Chilika wildlife division was conducted on Tuesday. As per the finding of the enumeration exercise, around 10, 74, 173 birds of 183 species visited the lagoon this season. The highest number of 3, 58, 889 birds of 97 species visited Nalabana. 

Around 12, 42, 826 birds of 190 species were enumerated as per the bird census report of last season. Therefore, the lagoon registered a drop of approximately 1, 68, 653 winged guests this year.

As many as 21 teams were engaged in the enumeration of both the domestic and migratory birds, which comprised 105 forest department officials. The counting process was started from 6 am and continued till 12 pm on Tuesday. 

The survey teams also included officials of Chilika Development Authority (CDA), experts from Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), Wild Odisha, Frow With Nature, Elephant Trust and members of various social organisations.

The census was conducted across five ranges including Satapada, Rambha, Balugaon, Tangi and Chilika. As many as 18 teams undertook the survey work in terrestrial areas while others were engaged in aquatic areas. 

Spread over Puri, Khurda, and Ganjam districts, the lake covers an area of around 1,100 sq km.

(Edited By Ramakant Biswas)