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Winged guests throng Bhitarkanika with onset of monsoon

Statesman News Service | Kendrapara |

With the onset of monsoon, residential water birds have begun thronging Bhitarkanika.

The winged species visit the heronry here in thousands every year for their annual nesting and breeding.

The water birds have arrived at the wetland sites in small groups. They visit this place for nesting with the onset of monsoon. The arrival of local migrant birds has reestablished Bhitarkanika as one of the prominent heronries of the state, Divisional Forest Officer, Rajnagar Mangrove (wildlife) forest Division, Prasanna Kumar Acharya.

“The congregation of birds was now on a lesser scale. There will be larger gathering of migrant species at Bagagahana heronry for seasonal nesting as monsoon picks up pace. They build nests and lay eggs atop the mangrove trees. Their sojourn would last for three to four months from now•after which they would start their homeward journey”, he said.

Around 10,000 local resident water birds have so far made their way to dense mangrove cover in Bagagahana, he said.

Prominent among the species arriving here for nesting are Grey Heron, Purple Heron, Darter, Cormorant, Large Egret, Intermediary Egret and Little Egret.

Last year 1,03,853 avian species were counted making Bhitarkanika wetland spots their nesting sites. Forest officials are pinning the hopes that the figure would rise this time.

The birds’ habitat is spread across around four-hectares stretch. They wing their way in and around the water bodies adding to the scenic beauty of the place.

There is ample of food security for the birds as the place crisscrossed by innumerable water inlets and nullahs is free of human interference, said forest officials.

Lack of human interference, ideal climatic condition, cool breeze and the river system here all have emerged to the liking of these delicate chirpy winged species.

It’s pertinent to note here that noted ornithologist Dr Salim Ali had made a chance discovery of Bhitarkanika birds’ habitat while on a casual visit to Bhitarkanika in 1981.