Census of winged guests begins in Chilika

Berhampur: The wildlife wing of the forest department began the annual bird census in Chilika on Sunday. Besides wildlife staff, experts from different organizations have been deployed to carry out the headcount.

As many as 20 teams, including research scholars and bird lovers of the state are participating in the bird count with the help of Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) and Chilika Development Authority (CDA) at Asia’s largest brackish water lagoon.

Though the arrival of the winged guests in Chilika has been normal so far, a rise in temperature in the area is likely to bring down the headcount this year, the officials said.

“For the last 10 years, we have been counting birds in a scientific way. It is not just about numbers; we are also finding how many species of birds are coming here and the trends. Some birds are very temperature sensitive and don’t come if winter is delayed or the temperature rises,” said Ajit Kumar Patnaik, chief executive of CDA.

In far away Sambalpur district, the bird count at the Hirakud Reservoir was held yesterday.

Out of the 15 teams employed for the census, 12 have been engaged in the census operations in the reservoir area and three in the power canal area.

The plumed guests from far-off places like Caspian Sea, Lake Baikal, remote parts of Russia, central and South-East Asia, Ladakh and Himalayas flock to the Hirakud dam every winter.