Winged guests flock Odisha national park

Kendrapara, Nov 13: Chirpy cacophony now stirs the marshy wetland spots in Bhitarkanika national park in Odisha's Kendrapara district with the onset of winter.

The winged species of central Asian origin have begun arriving at the wetland spots of the National Park, much to the delight of ornithologists.

The marshy and swampy wetland spots have again emerged as a congenial and human interference-free winter habitat for feathered guests from cool northern hemispheres.

"Chirpy cacophony is pervading the wetland sites following the arrival of winged species. Their flight has begun since past one week. Roughly around 25,000 birds have so far been sighted. Their number will rise steadily in coming days," Divisional Forest Officer, Rajnagar Mangrove (wildlife) Forest Division, Kedar Kumar Swain, said.

Since past one week, flocks of these winter guests are crowding the Raipatia and Satabhaya water bodies and creeks. The habitat of these birds extends around a kilo-metre stretch, he said.

The birds wing their way in and around the water bodies adding to the scenic beauty of the place. There is ample of food security for the birds as the place cris crossed by innumerable water inlets and nullahs is free of human interference, said Swain.

Prominent among the winged visitors to Bhitarkanika this time are Indian Skimmers, Grey Pelicans and White-backed vultures, Lesser adjutant, Grater spotted eagles. All of these sighted species are conferred endangered status under the International Union for Conservation for Nature (IUCN) Red Book Data containing the list of highly threatened animals worldwide, forest officials said.

These apart, other delicate and prominent birds sighted this time are Black-tailed godwit, Northern pin-tail, Lesser whistling duck, Grey plover, Egret spotted bills, Oriental darter, White belley seagull and black-necked stork.

These species barring the white-backed vultures are winter migrant avian creatures from northern hemisphere and cool places like Ladakh and they used to prefer Bhitarkanika wetland for its unique eco-system and cool and serene environment, conducive for their winter habitation, the officials added.