As many as 79,548 resident birds of different species compared to 70,105 last year were spotted at Bagagahan in Bhitarkanika National Park during a census.
Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) of the park Manoj Kumar Mohapatra on Friday said the forest officials, ornithologists and environmentalists participated in the four-day census.
Eleven species of resident birds like stork, herons and egrets were found nesting in Bagagahan which is the most secluded part of Bhitarkanika.
The nesting birds included open billed stork, Little Cormorant, Median Egret, Large Egret, Little Egret, purple heron, night heron, grey heron, Darter,
white Ibis and Cattle Egret.
“Monsoon shower has given a new lease of life to Bhitarkanika this year as more birds flocked the mangrove for nesting. The most significant feature of avifauna of Bhitarkanika is colonial nesting of resident water birds in Bagagahan which spreads over an area of four acres,” said Mohapatra.
He further said now not an inch of space is available in the mangrove for late coming birds. The entire nesting area is covered with feathers and droppings of the birds.
Abundant fish in the river and creeks and distance from human habitation have made the sanctuary a congenial breeding
place for thousands of birds.
The DFO said it is a rare sight to find these birds collect green branches for building and repairing nests, lay, incubate and hatch eggs, feed fledglings, guard them from predators, protect them from sunray and heavy downpour with outspread wings.
“During a visit to Bhitarkanika in 1981, noted ornithologist Dr Salim Ali had suggested to the government to declare the sanctuary as a biosphere reserve and get it surveyed by scientific organisations. But the suggestion has been gathering dust,” said Sudhanshu Parida, secretary of the district unit of People for Animal (PFA).
* 79,548 resident birds of different species nesting in sanctuary compared to 70,105 last year
* Forest officials, ornithologists and environmentalists participated in the four-day bird census
* Abundant fish in the river and creeks makes the sanctuary a congenial breeding ground for the birds
* Orinthologist Salim Ali’s suggestions continue to be ignored by Govt