Migratory birds are now attracted by other wetlands in Ganjam district and this could be the main reason for the drop in the number of winged guests in the Chilika lake in 2018, experts and officials said.
The bird census conducted by forest officials this month in all major water bodies of the district show that Tampara lake, Baghua dam and other water bodies hosted many migratory birds, besides the Chilika.
“The waterfowls might have landed on water bodies and some other areas on their way to Chilika due to the availability of food. It may be one of the reasons for fewer birds at the lake this year,” said retired Chief Conservator of Forest and a noted ornithologist, Sudhakar Mohapatra.
Divisional Forest Officer, Chilika, Bikash Ranjan Das seconded Mahapatra’s view.
The annual bird census, undertaken in the brackish water lagoon of Chilika on January 3, put the count to 8,93,390 birds, which is 53,000 less compared to last year’s figure.
Forest officials said 1,391 birds were sighed at the Tampara lake, and 1,214 at Baghua dam.
However, the DFO said, there could be at least two other reasons for the fewer number of birds being sighted in the Chilika this year.