Kendrapara: Much to the delight of ornithologists, the Bhitarkanika National Park has played host to over 91,000 migrant water birds, registering a substantial rise in the number of winged guests this monsoon in comparison to the preceding year.
As against 79,548 visiting birds recorded last year, 91,545 avian species were counted making Bhitarkanika wetland spots their nesting sites this year so far, Divisional Forest Officer, Rajnagar Mangrove (Wildlife) Forest Division, Kedrar Kumar Swain said.
There has been a steady rise in the number of local water-birds who thronged the heronry and wetland spots here for their seasonal journey.
The break-up of local migrant birds arriving here in past years is 2007 - 52,096, 2008 - 71,383, 2009 -70,484, 2010- 41,168, 2011- 59,973, 2012- 70,105 and 2013- 79,548, official statistics showed.
"As the monsoon was erratic this time, our expectation was that lesser number of local migrant birds would visit the site. But we were proved wrong. Local migrant birds visited in large number, but their arrival was delayed this time as the spell of rains was not uniform," Swain said.
Prominent among the species arriving here for nesting are Grey Heron, Purple Heron, Darter, Cormorant, Large Egret, Intermediary Egret and Little Egret, he said.
Lack of human interference, ideal climatic condition, cool breeze and the river system here all have emerged to the liking of these delicate chirpy winged species, Swain said.
It's pertinent to note here that noted ornithologist Dr Salim Ali made a chance-discovery of Bhitarkanika birds' habitat while on a casual visit to Bhitarkanika in 1981.