HOLD Migratory birds sighted in Orissa lake

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

BHUBANESWAR - Thousands of migratory birds have been spotted in Orissa’s Chilika lake during the past one week, an official said.

Usually migratory birds start arriving from places as far as Siberia and Ukraine in the first week of October every year but this year it was delayed for about a fortnight due to changes in climatic conditions, divisional forest officer B.K. Acharya told IANS.

The first batch of migratory birds arrived in the lake, the largest brackish water lake in Asia about 100 km from here, Oct 23, he said.

There are nearly 8,000 birds and the number will go up gradually go up as the cold intensifies.

Spread across the districts of Puri, Khordha and Ganjam along the east coast, the Chilika lake is known for its immaculate scenic beauty and rich biodiversity.

Every year, about a million migratory birds from places like Siberia, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and the Himalayas come to the lake in winters and return in March. These include flamingos, grey and purple herons, egrets, spoonbills, storks and white ibis.

The migratory birds which have been sighted this year so far include wigens, shovellers, and pintels, he said.

Chilika was declared one of the six wetlands of international importance for Arctic and Central Asian waterfowl by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.

Acharya said at least 13 camps have been set up and nearly 100 forest officials and volunteers have been deployed at various strategic locations of the lake for the protection of the birds.

The number of camps will go up to 23 as the number of birds in the lake increases, he said.

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