Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Rajnagar (Kendrapara), Sept 13:
The world famous Bhitarkanika National Park in Odisha’s Kendrapara district has witnessed the arrival of a record number of country birds this year.
As per the bird census conducted by the forest officials this year, as many as 91,545 country birds thronged Bhitarkanika which is 11,993 more compared to last year (79,552).
Known as the breeding place for country birds world over, birds of myriad species from various parts of India throng Bagagahana and Mathadia zone of the park every year for nesting. These birds stay in the park from July to November.
“Earlier, these birds preferred the 3.5 hectares of forest at Bagagahana as their breeding place. However, they found the 2.5 hectares of Mathadia forest as their preferred nesting place last year. Both the places are now agog with a variety of country birds,” said Kedar Kumar Swain, DFO, Rajgnagar Wildlife Division.
He said seven teams of 21 forest staff led by him, Kanika Range Officer Durga Sahu and Rajnagar Range Officer Binod Kumar Acharya had began the bird census in Bhitarkanika from August 18 to September 2 at Bagagahana and Mathadia.
During the census, the forest staff had spotted 13,448 nests in 4313 trees. The census in Bagagahana found the presence of 62,014 birds. The Mathadia forest has a total of 29,531 birds while 6303 nests have been spotted in 504 trees.
Swain also informed that the total number of country birds include 69,588 grey cranes (gendalia), 9000 herons (baga), 6000 purple herons, grey herons and night herons, 688 Da Bentia (local bird), 4753 little cormorants and 1334 rare darter species.
“We have formed two anti-poaching squads for the protection of these birds,” he added.
The number of country birds arriving in Bhitarkanika was 71,383 in 2008, 7044 in 2009, 42,168 in 2010, 59,973 in 2011 and 70,105 in 2012.