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Bhitarkanika logs nominal rise in winter winged guests

The Geese and ducks were sighted at the highest number of 59,286 followed by Gulls, terns, and skimmer numbering 34,353.

Statesman News Service | BHUBANESWAR |

The number of winged guests who made their way to Bhitarkanika national park for winter sojourn this year has registered a nominal 1.5% rise than the preceding year, officials said on Friday.

The mid-winter census status survey of wetland birds conducted on 12 January and released on Thursday by the forest department said the number of avian winter species has risen to 1,38,107 this year as against the previous year’s figure of 1,36,092.

While 121 species of feathered guests had thronged the national park last year, the latest headcount could spot 144 species of birds.

Hordes of rare and endangered avian species were spotted along the wetland spots, this time enumerators, reaffirming the national park as an ideal habitat for winter migratory birds.

The Geese and ducks were sighted at the highest number of 59,286 followed by Gulls, terns, and skimmer numbering 34,353.

The tweets of winged guests from overseas continue to liven up the picturesque marshy wetland spots of the national park. The feathered species are likely to make a return flight once the mercury rises.

The winter migrant birds preferred to roam around the water-bodies and nullahs. However some positive findings have emerged from this year’s census. The enumerators have spotted rare groups of winged species at the wetland spots of the national park. This is a clear indicator that Bhitarkanika is still a congenial spot to attract birds, said forest officials.

“The enumerators have also spotted hordes of Grebes, Cormorants, Darters, Egrets, Bitterns, Ibises, Finfoots, Gulls, Terns, Skimmer besides several other winged species. All these species come under the rare and threatened category”, said the officials.

“It was a treat to watch feathered species with their chirpy cacophony adding colour to the vibrant eco-system of this region”, said wildlife staffs who were engaged in the annual headcount of birds.

The winter migrant avian creatures from northern hemisphere and cool places like Ladakh used to prefer the Bhitarkanika wetland for its unique eco-system and cool and serene environment and find it conducive for their winter habitation.

Unbearable cool atmospheric conditions during winter months force these migrant species to temporarily leave their original habitat. The Chilka and Bhitarkanika wetland spots in the state are the favoured destination of winter migratory birds.