Sambalpur: The Hirakud reservoir here in this district has received 2.08 lakh winged visitors of 104 species, this winter. Among the bird species are 19 new ones. Officials said Tuesday this is the largest number of birds to have visited the Hirakud reservoir in the last decade.
The five most-numerous bird species that arrived this year are the lesser whistling duck, tufted duck, common coot, little cormorant and the red crested pochard. The 19 new species that were sighted include black bittern, peregrine falcon, white-bellied sea eagle, black-shoulder kite and baer’s pochard.
The Odisha government undertook a census of migratory birds at the 533-sq km reservoir January 7. Thousands of winged guests from Caspian Sea, Baikal Lake, Aral Sea, Mongolia, central and Southeast Asia and the Himalayas, make the reservoir home from November to March every year.
“This was the highest count of birds in the reservoir in winter in the last one decade,” Hirakud Wildlife Divisional Forest Officer Anshu Pragyan Das said.
The census included an additional 38 sq km area and that could be the reason behind the sighting of a record number of birds this year, another Hirakud Wildlife Division official said.
More than 1.24 lakh birds of 98 species had thronged the reservoir last winter. Similarly, over 1.45 lakh birds of 93 species had been sighted in 2020.