Kendrapara: As winter sets in, Bhitarkanika in Odisha's Kendrapara district is echoing with chirpy cacophony with the arrival of thousands of avian guests to the wetland spots of the National Park.

Every year in this season, migratory birds from Siberia, Eastern Europe, China and other continents fly over a thousand mile to take shelter at Bhitarkanika, a safe sanctuary for the winged guests. Varying in species, beautiful birds have started flocking the water bodies here in order to protect themselves from the terrible cold of the northern countries.

Bhitarkanika wildlife sanctuary has been designated as Ramsar site in August 2002, which is given to wetland of international importance. It is a unique area with huge biodiversity covering different ecosystems such as the landmass, tidal water bodies of the deltaic region, estuaries and territorial waters of the Bay of Bengal along with their associated flora and fauna.

Environmentalist Jagannath Das is of the opinion that Bhitarkanika National Park has earned a unique status due to its biodiversity. "Not only to this sanctuary, but foreign birds also migrate to Chinchiri river mouth and Satabhaya area. A large number of birds have already arrived and we are expecting more winged guests to come this year," said Das, further mentioning that there is a dire need to protect migratory foreign birds from poachers.

"I am a frequent visitor to Bhitarkanika. The splendid beauty of this site has amused me every single time. However, this year the migratory bird count has come down in comparison to the yester years," said Rashmi Ranjan Padhi, a visitor.

Many environmentalists and ornithologists have been raising concerns over drastic decrease in migration of birds to Bhitarkanika. They opined that illegal prawn gheries along Bhitarakanika, fishing activities, destruction of mangroves and unhindered poaching have been the main causes behind decrease in bird numbers.

On the other hand, Bikash Ranjan Das, Rajanagar Ranger said, "We are committed to protecting these species. We have deployed protection squads to check poaching activities, if any."

WATCH | Foreign Migratory Birds In Bhitarkanika National Park


(Edited By Devbrat Patnaik)