Annual bird census of Chilika lake on Jan 4

Berhampur, Dec 31: Annual bird census in Chilika, the biggest brackish water lake in the country, is slated to be carried out on January 4.

According to Forest officials, besides wildlife personnel, several experts of different organisations in and outside of the state will be engaged in the mammoth exercise.

       On the eve of the actual head count, a training programme of the enumerators will be held at the Wetland Training and Research Centre (WTRC) in Chandraput near Balugaon on January 3, he said.

       As many as 100 experts from different organizations will take part in the census work.

       Experts from organisations like Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), Wild Odisha, National Board of Wildlife, Regional Museum and Natural History, Chilika Development

Authority (CDA) and different State  universities, members of the bird protection committees would participate in the bird count. .

       While a blanket restriction has been imposed on entry of visitors to the Nalabana bird sanctuary area in the lake, tour operators have been asked not to take tourists to other

parts of the lake, particularly Mangalajodi on January 4-on the day of enumeration as visit of tourists might affect smooth conduct of the census.

The restriction will be lifted after the counting of birds in the lake.

       In the last winter, as many as 8,93,390 birds of 147 different species were counted in the entire lake. Highest number of 3,20,826 birds were sighted in 15.59-sq km Nalabana

bird sanctuary area, sources said.

       The Department expects more birds this year due to the intense cold which is favourable for migratory birds.

       The winged guests from far off places including Caspian Sea, Lake Baikal, remote parts of Russia, central and South East Asia, Ladakh and Himalayas throng the lake every

winter for feeding and roosting. They start their homeward journey with the onset of summer.

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