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Winged Guests Trigger Chirpy Cacophony in Bhitarkanika

With monsoon steadily picking up pace, residential water birds made their way into Bhitarkanika their temporary home triggered chirpy cacophony along the marshy wetland spots.

The winged species visit the heronry here in thousands every year for their annual nesting and breeding.

The water birds have begun arriving at the wetland sites in small groups. They visit this place for nesting with the onset of monsoon. However they have paid visit early this year though monsoon is yet to hit the coast.  The arrival of local migrant birds has re-established Bhitarkanika as one of the prominent heronries of the state, Divisional Forest Officer, Rajnagar Mangrove (wildlife) forest Division, Prasanna Kumar Acharya.

 “The congregation of birds was now on a lesser scale initially. As it has started raining in torrents, larger gathering of migrant species are being sighted in Bagagahana heronry for seasonal nesting. They will build nests and would lay eggs atop the mangrove trees. Their sojourn would last for three to four months from now after which they would start their homeward journey”, added Divisional Forest Officer, Acharya.

“The monsoon migrant birds are arriving in batches.  Around 10,000 local resident water birds have so far made their way to dense mangrove cover in Bagagahana”, he said.

Prominent among the species arriving here for nesting are Grey Heron, Purple Heron, Darter, Cormorant, Large Egret, Intermediary Egret and Little Egret.

The number of birds arriving here is expected to rise in coming days. Last year 1,03,853 avian species were counted making Bhitarkanika wetland spots their nesting sites. Forest officials are pinning the hopes that the figure would rise this time.

The birds’ habitat is spread across around four-hectares-stretch. They 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 crisscrossed by innumerable water inlets and nullahs is free of human interference, said forest officials.

Lack of human interference, ideal climatic condition, cool breeze and the river system here all have emerged to the liking of these delicate chirpy winged species.

It's pertinent to note here that noted ornithologist Dr Salim Ali made a chance-discovery of Bhitarkanika birds’ habitat while on a casual visit to Bhitarkanika in 1981.

Forest personnel informed about a dozen types of local residential birds congregate at the Bagagahana heronry within the park for nesting and breeding every year. The species are open bill stork, Little cormorant, Intermediary Egret, Large Egret, Little Egret, Purple Heron, Grey Heron, Night Heron.

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