Berhampur, October 22 (LocalWire): Arrival of migratory birds at Chilika, the biggest waterfowl habitat in the country, has been delayed this year.
The winged guests generally come from far off places and swoop down on the blue lagoon by the first week of October every year, but this year, the avian guests are yet to reach here or in Nalaban, the bird sanctuary inside the lake.
“Presently the sanctuary area is submerged since the water level of the lake is high due to the rains. Migratory birds may face difficulty in finding food in the submerged water bodies.
This might be one of the causes for their arrival to the lagoon,” Chilika wildlife division divisional forest officer (DFO) Samrat Gowda said.
The DFO, however, said some of the winged guests were seen flying in the sky but they did not come down to the lake.
“They might settle down once the water level recedes in the lake,” he said, adding, “We expect them to arrive in large numbers by the end of the current month.”
Ornithologists ruled out the delay of their arrival due to the impact of severe cyclonic storm Fani, which had made landfall near Puri on 3 May this year.
“Snowfall in their native areas and non-availability of food might have prompted the birds to migrate to safer places, including Chilika,” said former chief conservator of forests Sudhakar Mohapatra.
Availability of food and favourable weather are some of the reasons for lakhs of birds attract towards Chilika every year, as their winter abode, he added.
With the sight of the migratory birds on the shoreline and in the sky, the wildlife division has taken several steps to provide protection to the feathered guests.
“We have set up 19 temporary camps presently in the lake. Besides, two mobile camps have also launched in the area to vigil the poachers,” the DFO stated.
“Round the clock control room has also been opened at the division office to get information about the poaching of birds from the public,” he said.
During the last winter, over 10,47,868 birds of 161 species had taken shelter in the lake. These included 10,21,563 waterfowls and 26,405 water-dependent bards.
The winged guests mostly from beyond the Himalayas in the Northern Eurasia, Caspian region, Siberia, Kazakh, Lake Baikal and the remote areas of Russia and neighbouring countries visit the Chilika every winter and start their homeward journey before the onset of the summer.