Over a lakh birds sighted in Bhitarkanika-census

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Kendrapada, Dec 14: Over 1.31 lakh birds including migratory feathered guests and residential avian species were sighted inside the Bhitarkanika National Park during the annual bird census 2007 The census was carried out in the water bodies of Bhitarkanika National park and its nearby areas for two days last week, Rajnagar forest(Mangrove) Divisional Forest Officer A K Jena said.

He said this year 135 types of bird species which also included 97 types water birds and 38 types of other birds, have thronged to the Bhitarknaika National Park,one of the abode of avian species .

The shore bird species like sand piper,plover,ducks,goose,heron, cormorants, spoon bill and egrate were spotted on the branches of mangroves trees at Barunei Muhana ,Chataka, Praharajpur, Bagagahan and Raitapatia,Mr.Jena said.

This year the officials had constituted 10 teams to conduct the annual census under the guidance of renowned ornithologists Dr.Gohar Abedin, Ramesh Jhankar, Suvendu Bhattacharya and Biswajit Mohanty .

The sighting of species like Eurasian wigeon, Ferugenius, Shobeller, which are enlisted as highly threatened status as per Red Book Data of International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN),were the major highlight of this year's bird census Some rare and endangered bird species listed in the Red Data book of International Union Conservation (IUCN) like Indian Skimmer, Brahmin Ducks,Avocet,Godwin,Pintail,Pinted Stork,Seagulls,Tawny Eagle,Osprey and Bar-headed Geese,were sighted during the last bird census.

According to official sources, at least 100 Avocet, a winter migratory bird species from Siberia, were sighted near Raipatia by the forest department during the last census.

Similarly,a flock of 1500 Bar Headed Geese from Ladakh were also sighted by the forest department at Chataka besides a horde of 190 Indian Skimmers at Barunei.

Mr.Jena said the arrival of Indian Skimmer has gone up this year adding that the avian guest preferred Bhitarkanika environment as the most suitable habitat.

The highly productive ecosystem of Bhitarkanika provides enough fish,prawn,frogs and molluscan diet to the thousands of breeding birds and their chick while the serene atmosphere of the park provides congenial habitat for the winged species to settle down for breeding and nesting.

UNI

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