Winged guests start arriving at Hirakud reservoir

Sambalpur: With the winter setting in, migratory birds from far-flung areas have started arriving at the Hirakud Dam Reservoir Sambalpur district.

"The migratory birds have just started arriving. The number will increase in eight to ten days. We have already spotted nine varieties of migratory birds in the reservoir area," Divisional forest officer of Hirakud wildlife division, Manoj V Nair said.

The number of the migratory birds at the Hirakud dam reservoir was 60,806 in the last season. Around 52 kinds of species had arrived last year, a senior official said.

The soothing climate and the clean water of the reservoir attract the birds to the Hirkud reservoir spread over 746 sq km and Debrigarh sanctuary area every year.

The birds start arriving from November mainly from Caspian Sea, Baikal Lake, Aral Sea, Mongolia, Central and South East Asia and Himalaya region.

The birds are spotted in the areas along the Hirakud Reservoir, Lakhanpur, Kamgaon, Rengali, Govindpur and Debrigarh sanctuary area.

About 30-35 species of birds are seen in Hirakud. And among the birds arriving at the reservoir are Common Pochard, Red Crested Pochard, Great Duck Bill, Spot Bill (Grey Duck), Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, Pond Heron, Painted Stork, Whiskered Tern, Indian River Tern, Gadwall.

"Tourist flow to Hirakud increases for these birds. People from many parts of the country throng the area for bird watching. Moreover, this place also attracts researchers. These birds enhance the beauty of the reservoir during this period," said S Panigrahi, a local resident.

"Bird watching points have been identified for the tourists. We have also taken steps to ensure protection of the migratory birds. We have trained the staff for watching the birds. We also undertake patrolling for the security of the winged guests," the DFO said.