At least 130,000 birds were sighted at Nalaban Island while 1.5 lakh birds were spotted outside the protected area of the lake, the official told IANS.
Most of the birds are migratory birds and have come from places as far as the Caspian Sea, Lake Baikal, Aral Sea, Russia, Mongolia, central and southeast Asia, Ladakh and the Himalayas, he said.
At least 156 species of winged guests have been spotted on the lake this winter and of them 52 were local birds. The birds which were sighted include Wigeon, Godwit, Shoveller, Pintail and Tufted Pochard, the official said.
The 1,000 sq km lake, about 100km from state capital Bhubaneswar, is spread over the districts of Puri, Khordha and Ganjam along the eastern coast and is home to some of the largest congregations of migratory birds in the country.
Every year, about a million migratory birds come to the lake in October and return in March. An estimated 165 species of birds are found in the lake during winter. Of these, 93 species are migratory and 72 residential.
This year, patrolling has been intensified at the lake and awareness has been created in villages around the lake on bird conservation. "We have already set up 17 camps in villages near the lake to protect the birds from being hunted", the official said.
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