Mrunal Manmay Dash

A massive exercise has begun for conducting the annual bird census at Hirakud reservoir. Over 70 officials, including forest department personnel and bird experts, have been engaged to carry out the bird enumeration exercise this year.

As per reports, the census which has begun from 6am on Monday will continue till 5pm in a 500sqkm area.

Hirakud DFO, Anshuprajna Das informed that several youngsters and budding bird watchers have also been engaged for the annual bird census exercise. The bird census will be carried out in the entire Hirakud reservoir areas under Sambalpur, Jharsuguda, and Bargarh districts from Hirakud to Chhattisgarh border.

“Entire Hirakud reservoir spans across 500 sqkm area. We have formed 32 teams with 78 participants. Hirakud reservoir and the entire wetland areas have been divided into 21 sectors. Every team is equipped with GPS devices, binoculars, and life-saving jackets. The teams have adequate equipment to cover their designated circuits,” Das said.

“The sector ranges from 10sqkm to 60 sqkm depending on their geographic location. One team will cover only one circuit. We have given them their respective GPS coordinates. We will verify the data before compilation as well. So there is no chance of repetition while counting. We had counted 108 species of birds in the reservoir last year,” she added.

Speaking on the efforts of villagers to safeguard birds, Das said, “The number of foreign migratory birds increased last year because of the availability of food and protection. Villagers from around the reservoir have conserved the wetland so beautifully for a long time.”

Notably, over 3 lakh migratory birds were sighted during the annual bird census at Hirakud reservoir in 2023.

It is pertinent to mention here that the result of the 2024 annual bird census in Chilika Lake was announced on January 4. The number of birds that flocked to the lake was pegged at 11, 37,759 belonging to 187 species.

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