Seasonal Bird Count in Bhitarkanika National Park Rises by 9,000

Every monsoon, the forest staff carries out a bird census of local and migratory birds arriving here in thousands
Open-billed storks are the most identified species in the park this year
Open-billed storks are the most identified species in the park this year

Here's some good news. The mangrove forest belts in Bhitarkanika National Park in Odisha has seen a significant rise in the number of seasonal monsoon birds coming in for their annual nesting.

According to officials, the migratory birds have also switched their nesting spots to newer locations inside the park in the Kendrapara district. The impressive rise in the number of local migrant birds visiting the wetland sites re-establishes Bhitarkanika as one of the prominent heronries of the state.

Bikash Ranjan Das, divisional forest officer of Rajnagar, said that a total of 97,866 birds from 10 species were counted in the park this year, which notes an increase of 9,252 birds from last year. The number of nests also saw an increase of 1,959 totalling 21,185.

&ldquoThe nests were found in Mathadiha inside the national park and Laxmiprasad Diha and Durga Prasad Diha which are located outside the park. This year the most identified species is Gendalia (open-billed stork). Availability of ample food and good weather conditions are the reasons for the increase in the number of birds this year,&rdquo said Das.

The bird species that throng Bhitarkanika during monsoon includes Kaparkhai, Anjana, Rani Baga, Panikua, Gendalia, and Khaira. These bird species like to build nests in Guan, Bani, and Kerua trees in the region. Bhitarkanika, being the second largest viable mangrove ecosystem in India, is also home to eight species of kingfishers.

The bird census is carried out every monsoon. Two teams with five forest staff set out to mark the local birds as well as the thousands of migratory birds flying in from other states. These migratory birds return home by the end of October with their babies. Meanwhile, the migratory birds from other countries are expected to arrive by November. 

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