Saswat Singhdeo

Angul: The annual bird census began across the State on Friday. More than 25 teams comprising over 1000 wildlife officials, experts, environmentalists and academicians have been engaged in the headcount exercise at various wildlife ranges and water bodies of the State including Satkosia & Mahanadi river system.

The enumeration of avian species began in Satkosia wildlife division with as many as 10 units of forest officials carrying out the census from early morning today.

Many migratory birds belonging to rare species like Brahmani Duck, Indian Skimmer and Bar-headed Goose arrive at Satkosia's Mahanadi river system in the winter season.

"During the bird and crocodile census, fishing will be prohibited in the Mahanadi river system and even tourists will not be allowed to visit the sanctuary during the first two weeks during the census," Satkosia DFO Ramaswamy said.

Speaking about the rare birds, environmentalist Ashok Satpathy said, "Mahanadi is one of the favourite places for these rare avian species."

Similarly, the counting of birds has also started in Mahanadi river system, Sisupathar dam, water bodies in Mayurbhanj district including Simlipal, Baripada, Rairangpur and Karanjia.

Bird census will begin at Chilika Lake tomorrow and on January 6 at Bhitarkanika and Hirakud. Apart from bird counting, the annual census of crocodiles will begin in the State from January 9.