The winged guests seem to have found new places in Balasore and Mayurbhanj districts to spend their winter days. Apart from migratory waterfowl, one more rare species was spotted for the first time in this part of the State.
According to official sources, Striated Heron, also known as Mangrove Heron, was sighted for the first time at Bankhol reservoir in Rairangpur division of Mayurbhanj district. A total of 4108 birds of 40 species including five additional species were reported from the census areas of Mayurbhanj. Of the total, 11 species are winter visitors to the area.
Among the migratory birds, ducks and geese outnumbered other species. Lesser Whistling was the most abundant as 830 of them were recorded followed by Fulvous Whistling Duck (600), Red Crested Poachard (304), Tufted Duck (295), Gadwall (288), Great Crested Grebe (119), Common Teal(5) and Ferruginous Duck (5).
Regional Conservator of Forests (RCF) and Field Director of Similipal Tiger Reserve (STR) Anup Kumar Nayak said the census was conducted in Rairangpur, Baripada and Karanjia territorial divisions in the district on January 5 and 6 covering 28 wetlands. “Lesser Whistling was the most widely recorded species while Striated Heron was spotted for the first time,” he said. Striated Herons are mostly non-migratory and noted for some interesting behavioral traits. Their breeding habitat is small wetlands in the Old World tropics from West Africa to Japan and Australia and in South America.
Of 28 wetlands, Nesa was found to be the most diversified water bird preferred habitat where 21 species were spotted followed by Badjor and Suleipat where 20 and 18 species were sighted respectively.
Prior to the census, a training programme was organised at the Field Director’s office which was attended by forest officials, wildlife researchers and young and enthusiastic foresters. Bird identification features and census techniques were discussed during the training. Seven groups were formed with each headed by a bird expert.
Similarly, more than 30 species of the migratory birds have been sighted in Balasore district which houses Kuldhia wildlife sanctuary. A total 142 species of birds including Fulvous Whistling Duck, Eurasian Wigeon, Northern Shovler, Gadwall, Gargeney, Northern Pintail, Common Teal and Tufted Duck were spotted in the sanctuary and other parts of the district.
The census was conducted at the water bodies in Padmatola, Tenda, Khemkote, Sindhua, Rissia, Bogalibandha, Parikhi, Rupkhand, Kantiachira, ITR Campus,
Budhabalanga mouth, Talsari and Subaranarekha mouth.