Migratory waterbirds throng Odisha's Bhitarkanika for annual breeding season

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(Eds: Upgrading) Kendrapara (Odisha), Jul 8 (PTI) With the onset of monsoon, thousands of migratory waterbirds from across the country have made the marshy wetlands of Bhitarkanika National Park in Odisha's Kendrapara district their temporary home for the annual nesting and breeding season, a senior forest official said on Thursday.

The arrival of the local migratory birds has reestablished Bhitarkanika as one of the prominent heronries of Odisha, Rajnagar Mangrove (Wildlife) Forest Division DFO Jagyandatt Pati said.

'With the commencement of the rainy season, local migratory species have arrived in batches at the Bagagahan heronry for seasonal nesting. They have built nests and laid eggs atop the mangrove trees. Their sojourn would last for at least three months from now, after which they would start their homeward journey,' he said.

There has been a sizable congregation of these monsoon birds this year. They are still arriving in batches. The headcount of these winged species will be conducted next month. Last year, 97,866 birds were counted nesting at the national park, Pati said.

There is ample food for the birds as the place, crisscrossed by innumerable water inlets and nullahs, is free of human interference, the DFO said.

The absence of human interference, ideal climatic conditions, cool breeze and the river system have all emerged to the liking of these winged species, he said.

Noted ornithologist Dr Salim Ali had made a chance discovery of Bhitarkanika birds' habitat while on a casual visit to the national park in 1981.

Over a dozen species of birds congregate at the heronries in the park every year. Some of these species are Open Bill Stork, Little Cormorant, Intermediary Egret, Large Egret, Little Egret, Purple Heron, Grey Heron, Night Heron, Darter, White Ibis and Cattle Egret. PTI COR AAM ACD ACD

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