Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: While the number of migratory birds in Chilika lake in Ganjam district has gone up substantially, the number of the winged guests has fallen in the Bhitarkanika National Park in Kendrapara district as per the report of the bird census conducted this year.

Informing the media about the census here on Monday, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF) SS Srivastav said as against 7,61,940 migratory birds sighted in the lake and its periphery last year, the number has gone up substantially to 8,58,855 as per the report of the two-day bird census held in January this year.

He, however, said though the number of migratory birds has increased by 96,915 in comparison to last year, the number of species visiting Chilka this year has been less (161) compared to the last year (172).

“Of the 161 species, three new species have been sighted at Mangalajodi area of the lake,” Srivastav informed.

He said that the substantial rise in the number of migratory birds in Chilika could be due to moderate climate conditions and the half-submerged areas of Nalabana due to less rainfall this year.

Members of the Bombay Natural History Society, officials of Chilika Development Authority (CDA), Odisha University of Agriculture Technology (OUAT) and Chilika Wildlife Division were engaged in the bird census in the lake.

On the other hand, the number of migratory birds in Bhitarkanika has come down marginally.

“As per the report of the bird census conducted in the first week of January this year, about 1,06,356 birds have been sighted in Bhitarkanika, which is 6879 less compared to last year's figure of 113,226,” Bimal Prasanna Acharya, DFO of Rajnagar Wildlife Division, told the media on Monday.

He said the number of bird species sighted in the Park this year was 87 as compared to 109 species last year.

A total of 16 teams, comprising 68 forest staffs and about 25 ornithologists, were engaged in the bird census, which had begun on January 8.

In Kuladiha and Nilagiri forest range under Nilagiri wildlife division in Balasore district, about 2688 birds belonging to 15 species were found during the two-day census which concluded on Sunday.

Sridhara Lenka, Forester of Mitrapur Range, in Kuldiha range, informed that 10 forest staffs divided into five teams had conducted bird census at five places and spotted 973 birds of which 28 were spotted at Tenda, 637 at Rishia dam site, 85 at Sindhua, 168 at Khomakuta and 63 at Bogalibandh.

“Besides, four forest staffs engaged in bird census at Padmatola in Nilagiri forest range spotted about 1615 birds of 15 species,” he added.

The Forest department had also conducted bird census at 14 places including Anshupa lake and Mahanadi delta under Athagarh Forest range and Hirakud reservoir area in which 61 teams were engaged.

As per the Census report, about 95,912 birds of 60 species have been spotted in Hirakud reservoir area while 24,482 birds of 63 species have been spotted in Mahanadi delta area and Anshupa lake.