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Fest finds 90 new bird species

The five-daylong camp will begin from 25 February. Around 30 participants from different parts of the state are scheduled to take part in it.

IANS | Sukna |

Around 400 species of birds were found during the first edition of the three-day-long Mahananda Bird Festival that ended here yesterday, forest officials said.

According to the chief conservator of forests, wildlife, north, Rajendra Jakhar, a total of 382 avian species were spotted during the festival.

“A study conducted in 1997 had revealed 292 avian species in the sanctuary. During this festival, 90 new species have been found and the latest findings of the species means the number has gone up to 382,” Mr Jakhar said.

Forest officials said no such dedicated study was conducted in the sanctuary after 1997. Among the new species spotted were the striated yuhina, white-bellied drongo, chestnut-bellied nuthatch, common rock-thrush, and blyth’s leaf warbler.

“Many rare birds, which come in the category of Schedule-I have also been spotted here,” Mr Jakhar added. Bird watchers, prominent ornithologists and bird enthusiasts participated in the event. They moved through seven different routes, including Gulma, Latpanchar, Rongtong, Teesta river, and hilly terrains (around 3,000 feet) in and around the sanctuary.

“The participants clicked photos and noted down details like the location where the birds have been sighted. There are some more species which could not be identified. The presence of a wide range of avian population indicates that the sanctuary is ideal for birds,” said a senior forest officer.

The forest department is hopeful that the festival and the findings will help in tourism promotion in the area.

Mr Jakhar said the forest department will release a publication on the birds soon. Meanwhile, the Himalayan Nature and Adventure Foundation is going to organise the 14th annual bird watching camp at Ashaley, under the Neora Valley National Park, at an altitude of around 4,000 feet above sea level.

The five-daylong camp will begin from 25 February. Around 30 participants from different parts of the state are scheduled to take part in it.