59 bird species visit Hirakud reservoir

Sambalpur: Over 79,000 birds of 59 species visited Hirakud reservoir in Samblpur district this winter, registering a significant increase compared to the number of winged guests of last year.

After completion of bird census at the reservoir, it was found that a total of 79,138 birds belonging to 59 species were recorded, a senior forest official said.

The five most numerous bird species were Lesser Whistling duck (24,397), Tufted Duck (13,410), Common Pochard (12,366), Great Crested Grebe (8,259) and Brown-headed Gull (3,993).

In addition, six species were recorded for the first time from Hirakud area. They are Comb Duck, Fulvous Whistling-duck, Mallard, Red-necked Falcon, Pied Harrier and Heuglin's Gull.

Last year, a total of 60,806 birds belonging to 52 species were counted. Based on the findings of this year and earlier years, a proposal will be prepared shortly for declaring Hirakud reservoir as an Important Bird Area (IBA).

Annual waterfowl census-2013 in Hirakud Reservoir area was carried out by Hirakud Wildlife Division on January 8, jointly with other forest divisons of Sambalpur circle namely Sambalur South Divison, Sambalpur North division and Bargarh division, sources said.

For the first time, almost entire area of Hirakud reservoir, divided into nine sectors, was covered by the census teams, they said.

Before the exercise, a training programme for participating members and staff from various divisions was held in Sambalpur on January 3 by Manoj V Nair, DFO, Hirakud division. Census kits like Binoculars, Bird Fieldguides, Census sheets were given to participants.