Kendrapara, July 7 (LocalWire): Monsoon showers have given a new lease of life to Bhitarkanika National Park in the district with a large number of resident birds starting to flock the mangrove for nesting recently.
According to the park’s divisional forest officer (DFO) Bimal Prasan Acharya, “Around 50,000 birds have already stepped up their nesting activities and are known to breed during the monsoon season at Mathadia forest area covering five hectors of mangrove forest the famous heronry of nesting birds.”
More than 14 species of resident birds have already arrived in both the areas for laying eggs.
The most important nesting birds in this forest region are Open Billed Stork, Little Cormorant, Median Egret, Large Egret, Little Egret, Purple Heron, Grey Heron, Darter, White Ibis, and Cattle Egret.
“Watching these birds make and mend nests, collect green branches for building and repairing nests, lay, incubate, hatch eggs, feed fledglings, guard them against predators, cover them with outspread wings to protect them from scorching rays sun and the heavy downpour is a sight to behold.
More birds will come for nesting within two weeks,” Acharya said.
In the past large numbers of birds used to nest at Bagagahana forest within the park in the monsoon season, but two years back they had shifted their nesting area to nearby Mathadia forest block.
“While Bhitarkanika witnesses local birds that arrive here to lay eggs in the monsoon season, in winter it sees migratory birds arrive coming in from far-off places to avoid the chill.
The rich avifauna of mangrove forests of Bhitarkanika can be attributed to the structural diversity of habitat conditions,” the forest officer explained.
Abundant fish in the river and creeks and distance from human habitation has made it a suitable congenial breeding place of thousands of birds.
“When assured of enough food, hundreds of birds get busy in courting and mating,” he said.
Sharing further details Acharya highlighted that the mangrove and other trees in the area are tightly packed together with nests of thousands of birds.
The nests are large ones and made of reeds piled loosely together, set on a foundation of water-weeds heaped high to keep the eggs from getting wet.
“Not an inch of space is available on the mangrove trees and any bird trying to land has to hover above the Mathadiha till it finds space on the tree.
The latecomers sit outside it, waiting for vacancies.
Bhitarkanika also offers sanctuary to many wild creatures, particularly those birds that thrive in and around water,” he added.