KENDRAPARA: As many as 91,544 resident birds of 10 species have been counted in the Bagagahan, the heronry within the Bhitarkanika National Park recently.
DFO of the park, Kedar Kumar Swain, said the number includes 51,977 baby birds that were counted during the bird census.
These 10 species of resident birds includes Open Bill storks, herons and egrets.
Known as the breeding place for country birds world over, birds of myriad species from various parts throng Bagagahana of the park every year for nesting. These birds stay in the park from July to November. “Mathadia forest is also a new breeding place within the park for the birds. In fact, both the places are now agog with a variety of country birds,” said Swain.
He said seven teams of 21 forest staff led by him, Kanika Range Officer Durga Sahu and Rajnagar Range Officer Binod Kumar Acharya had conducted the bird census in Bhitarkanika from August 18 to September 2 at Bagagahana. “We have formed two anti-poaching squads for the protection of these birds,” he added.
During the census, the forest staff had spotted 13,448 nests in 4313 trees. Among the country birds sighted are Grey Cranes, Purple Heron, Night Heron, Grey Heron, Da Bentia (local bird), Little Cormorants and rare Darter species.
Last year, mid-winter migratory bird census had revealed lowest figure of the birds in the last 10 years. Forest officials had then counted only 79,548 birds including 44,448 baby birds. In 2008, the forest officials counted 1,01,293 birds. While the number of birds was 1,14,921 in 2009, it dropped to 81,401 in 2010.
The birds that migrated during winter last year were Open Billed Stork, Little Cormorant, Median Egret, Large Egret, Little Egret, Purple Heron, Night Heron, Grey Heron, Darter, White Ibis, Cattle Egret, Grey-backed Shrike, Ruddy Kingfisher, Red-necked Phalarrope, Western Reef Egret, Oriental Honey Buzzard, Blue-Winged Leafbird, Great Thick-knee, Great Knot, Tawny Pipit and Goliath Heron.
“Monsoon this year has given a new lease of life to Bhitarkanika as myriad birds flocked the mangrove trees for nesting,” the forest officer said.