Over 81,000 migratory birds flock to Bhitarkanika this time

Kendrapara: Much to the delight of ornithologists, Bhitarkanika National Park in Odisha played host to over 81,000 winter migrant birds this winter, registering a substantial rise in the number of winged guests in comparison to preceding year.

As against 65,159 visiting birds recorded last year, 81,401 avian species with majority of them having winged back from trans-Himalayan region were counted making Bhitarkanika their winter sojourn this time.

The rise in number of birds has left wildlife personnel elated with 25 per cent more winged guests spotted during headcount exercise that concluded over the weekend.

The enumerators of the state forest department had spotted rare groups of winged species of central Asian origin from the wetland spots of Bhitarkanika national park.

With steep rise in number of avian species,the marshy and swampy wetland spots in Bhitarkanika have again emerged as a congenial and human-interference-free winter habitat for feathered guests from central Asian and Himalayan region.

If the latest census of these winged species, which concluded recently, is any indication, birds accorded endangered and rare status made their flight to Bhitarkanika for temporary winter sojourn.

"Back-headed godwit, an endangered avian species from cool environs of Himalayan region thronged the wetland sites in large number. Over 37,000 gotwits virtually laid seige at Bhitarkanika skyline. These species trans-migrated from Siberia, Ladakh, Lake Manosarovar and Himalayan region. The enumerators found these species fatigued after their long flight, said Manoj Kumar Mahapatra, Divisinal Forest Officer, Rajnagar Mangrove (wildlife) Forest Division.