Kendrapara, Sept 27 (LocalWire): The population of monsoon birds has dipped in the Bhitarkanika National Park of Kendrapara district this year, according to the bird census results declared today by forest officials.
The census pegged their population at 88,614 including 50,022 baby birds, which compared to the census in 2018, shows a decrease in the population by 2610 birds.
Forest officials had sighted 91, 224 birds during last year’s bird census.
In 2017, the population of monsoon birds was estimated at 1,04,490 and in 2016, the forest officials counted 1,03,853 birds in the rainy season.
‘The present report reflects the results only from the direct count method.
We monitored all the water bodies and mangrove forest areas of Bhitarkanika from 18 September to 24 September,’ said Bikash Ranjan Dash, the Divisional Forest Officer of Bhitarkanika National Park.
‘Large number of monsoon birds found new nesting sites near the river Bramahani at Laxmiprasaddia of Durgaprasad forest block.
We counted 18,834 nests, 37,668 birds and 48,867 baby birds at Laxmiprasaddia but we sighted only 462 nests, 924 adult birds and 1155 baby birds in the mangrove and other trees at Mathaadia, an area of 2.5 hectares,’ added the forest officer.
‘Earlier, birds used to nest at Bagagahana and Mathadia forest blocks within the park in the rainy season.
During the recent bird census, we found that monsoon birds abandoned their traditional nesting site at Bagagahana and Mathadia and we saw an increase in nesting activity at Laxmiprasaddia near the park, indicating that the birds could have established new nesting colonies since being forced to leave,’ the DFO explained.
‘Why nesting birds abandon their traditional nesting grounds needs to be studied,’ added the forest officer.
The monsoon season is the breeding period of many local birds in the park.
Decreases in nesting birds occurred for most bird species and especially for the Open Bill storks.
One cannot rule out departure of birds from Bhitarkanika to other locations, where the environment is favorable for nesting birds than Bhitarkanika.