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Bhitarkanika plays host to over 1 lakh migrant water birds

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Kendrapara (Odisha), Sep 1 (PTI) Bhitarkanika NationalPark in Odisha’s Kendrapara district played host to over onelakh migrant water birds this monsoon, registering discerniblerise in number of winged guests compared to last year. With this, Bhitarkanika national park has once againre-established its place in the state as one of the congenialheronries for the migrant water birds. As against 96,437 visiting birds enumerated last year,1,03,853 birds were counted making Bhitarkanika wetland spotstheir nesting sites, said Divisional Forest Officer, RajnagarMangrove (Wildlife) Forest Division, Bimal Prasanna Acharya. On August 22, the national park authorities had launcheda week-long drive for the head-count of seasonal monsoonbirds. Two teams comprising 10 ornithologists besides wildlifepersonnel of the national park, were on the job to conduct theheadcount of these birds with the onset of monsoon. As rains were not uniform, their arrival was delayed thistime. Still we have spotted impressive congregation of monsoonbirds along the mangrove covers of the park, the DFO said. As many as 21,204 nests were spotted on 2,098 treetops.Of the counted birds, 42,408 adults were enumerated arrivinghere for monsoon sojourn. The heronry at Bagagahana attractedthe highest number (46,322) of birds. The enumerators covered all major congregation zones bothin and out of the park. Besides the core area of the nationalpark, peripheral wetland sites like Satabhaya and Barunei weretaken up for the census. The birds’ habitat in the core area of the park is spreadacross around four hectares. There is ample food for the birdsas the place, crisscrossed by innumerable water inlets andnullahs, is free of human interference, Acharya said. Prominent among the species arriving here for nesting areGrey Heron, Purple Heron, Darter, Cormorant, Large Egret,Intermediary Egret and Little Egret, officials said. Lack of human interference, ideal climatic condition,cool breeze and the river system here all have emerged to theliking of these winged species, they said. Noted ornithologist Salim Ali had made a chance-discoveryof this habitat of the birds habitat while on a visit toBhitarkanika in 1981. PTI COR SKN CRNSD

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