Kendrapara, July 18 (LocalWire): Monsoon showers have brought new life to Bhitarkanika national park in Kendrapara district as large numbers of resident birds have started flocking to the mangrove trees for nesting.
“Large numbers of birds have already began nesting activities at Mathadia forest and Laxmiprasadadia forest within the park.
More than 14 species of resident birds have already arrived in both these areas for laying eggs.
The most important nesting birds are the 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 from predators, cover them with outspread wings to protect them from scorching rays sun and heavy downpour is a sight to behold.
One can also witness the newborns coming out of their nests. Non-breeding males and females can also be spotted in huge flocks foraging for food in the area,” said Bikash Ranjan Dash, the Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) of the park.
In the past large numbers of birds used to nest at Bagagahana forest within the park in the monsoon season.
However, four years ago, the birds shifted their nesting area to the Mathadia forest block.
Last year, the birds abandoned the Mathadia area and arrived in Laxmiprasadadia forest for the first time. However, in this monsoon season, birds reached both Mathadia and Laxmiprasaddia areas, added the forest officer.
In the monsoon season, local birds arrive in Bhitarkanika to lay eggs.
But in winter, migratory birds arrive to avoid the winter in far-off places beyond the Himalayas.
The rich avifauna of mangrove forests of Bhitarkanika can be attributed to the structural diversity of habitat conditions, added the forest officer.
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, added the forest officer.
Many mangrove and other trees 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, added the forest officer.
“During 1981, noted ornithologist Dr. Salim Ali had visited Bhitarkanika and suggested that the government declare it a Biosphere Reserve and get it surveyed by scientific organisations. But the suggestion has been gathering dust,” said Hemant Rout the secretary of the Gahiramatha Marine Turtle and Mangrove Conservation Society.