Bhitarkanika registers rise in number of winged guests

Kendrapara: The Bhitarkanika National Park in Kendrapara district has played host to over one lakh migratory birds this year.
While 76,268 winter migratory birds had made their way to the national park last year, the latest census findings have put the number of winged guests at 1, 12,937, an impressive 48 per cent rise.
The enumerators have for the first time spotted two rare species of birds of central Asian-origin – mallard and comb duck -at the wetland areas of the park.
That apart, more than 10,000 bar-headed geese, hordes of back-headed godwit, greater crested tern, common shell duck and blue-tailed godwits were also seen at the park. All these species come under ‘rare and threatened’ category in the International Union for Conservation for Nature (IUCN) Red Book Data.
“Unable to cope with extreme cold conditions in their original habitat, the birds fly to these congenial wetland spots,” said Divisional Forest Officer, Rajnagar Mangrove (wildlife) Forest Division, Bimal Prasanna Acharya.
The marshy and swampy wetlands here offer a human-interference-free winter habitat for the feathered guests. There is also ample food for the birds here, Acharya said. “Lack of human interference, ideal climatic condition, cool breeze and the river system have helped this place emerge as a hotspot for the delicate and chirpy winged species,” he said.

Mayurbhanj logs fall in number of birds during census

Baripada: The forest department carried out a bird enumeration exercise in various parts of Mayurbhanj district for two days – Wednesday and Thursday. According to the census, the number of migratory birds in water bodies has come down this year in comparison to the previous year. The number of birds was put at 10,652 in the winter season.
Bird counting was carried out in 90 water bodies at eight ranges under Baripada forest division, five ranges under Rairangpur division and six ranges under Karanjia division.
Forest officials and bird researchers counted birds in water bodies at Badajoda, Haladia, Paunsia, Kal, Tungadhua, Bankabahala, Taradiha, Dariha, Saria, Dantiamuhan, Ambajoda, Gadadeulia and Subarnarekha canal. 10, 652 birds of different species were found visiting the 90 water bodies while their number was 13,230 last year. Their number has dropped by 2,578 while the department has been exploring its causes. Baripada division recorded visits of 6080 birds; Rairangpur division 2300 and Karanjia division 2272 birds. Birds including White throated Kingfisher, Common Kingfisher and Indian Big Heron were sighted during the census.
“The number of birds has fallen due to low water level in water bodies and stone crushing units,” said Baripada DFO Sayam Mallick. Bird researcher Rajkumar Behera noted that the forest department should look for reasons of the fall in bird enumeration.

PTI

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