Migratory birds head back home with mercury rise

BERHAMPUR (ODISHA)
19 Feb 2017

With sudden rise in the day temperature, the visiting migratory birds to famous Chilika lake in Odisha have begun the long journey back home.
Fifty per cent of the migratory birds, who made the lake their home, have already left Chilika while the rest are likely to leave soon, Divisional Forest Offier (DFO) of Chilika wildlife division, Bikash Ranjan Dash said. As many as 9.47 lakh birds of 167 species had visited the Chilika lake, the largest coastal lagoon and one of the largest waterfowl habitat in the country, during this winter.
As many as 9.24 lakh birds belong to nearly 100 species and 22,766 birds to 67 wetland-dependent species.
Avian species, mostly from beyond the Himalayas, northern Eurasia, the Caspian region, Siberia, Kazakhstan, Lake Baikal and the northern regions of Russia and its neighbouring countries visit the lake every winter and return before the onset of the Indian summer, usually starting in the last week of February or the first week of March. "This year, their journey began early, about a week before their usual time of departure," a wildlife official said. The sudden rise in the day temperature might be the reason behind the early departure of migratory birds from the Chilika lake this time," he added.
Even though several species routinely leave the lake with the onset of summer, a few had remained at the lake through last summer. Greater flamingos, spot billed pelicans, painted storks, spoonbills, black headed ibises, etc. were sighted at the Chilka during last summer.
In the last summer count conducted in May, 2016, wildlife officials had counted 41,569 birds of 113 different species in the lake. Of these, 31,195 and 10,374 were detected as waterfowl and resident birds, respectively. Most of the birds were found in the 15.59 square kilometre Nalabana bird sanctuary area. (PTI)