The winged species visit the park in thousands during this time of the year for nesting and breeding. “The water birds have started arriving at the wetland in small groups. The arrival of local migrant birds has re-established Bhitarkanika as a prominent heronry (breeding ground) of the state, said Prasanna Kumar Acharya, Divisional Forest Officer, Rajnagar Mangrove (wildlife) forest division. The congregation will only get larger when the monsoon picks up pace, he said.
“There will be larger gathering of the migrant species at Bagagahana heronry, inide the park, in the days to come. The birds build nests and lay eggs atop the mangrove trees. Their sojourn usually lasts for three to four months, after which they embark on their homeward journey,” he explained. Around 10,000 local resident water birds have so far made their way to the dense mangrove cover in Bagagahana, Acharya said.
“Prominent among the species arriving here for nesting are Grey Heron, Purple Heron, Darter, Cormorant, Large Egret, Intermediary Egret and Little Egret,” he added. Last year 1,03,853 avian species were spotted at Bhitarkanika park. The forest officials are hoping that the figure would rise this time. The birds’ habitat is spread across a four-hectare stretch, which provides an ideal climatic condition, said another forest official. “There is ample food for the birds as the place has innumerable water inlets and nullahs that are free of human interference,” he added.