There has been a drop in the number of winter birds flocking the Bhitarkanika National Park here, prompting wildlife officials to find out the reasons behind it.
The annual census report of winter migratory birds released by the forest department on Monday said that the number of avian winter species has come down to 1,09,059 against 1,12,937 last year.
While 83 species of feathered guests had thronged the national park last year, the latest headcount could spot 74 species of birds, they said.
Many of the spots where the birds were spotted last time, no sighting was made this time, they said.
Despite the drop in the number of migratory birds, hordes of rare and endangered avian species were sighted along wetland spots.
"The enumerators have spotted rare groups of winged species at the wetland spots of the national park. This is a clear indicator that Bhitarkanika is still a congenial spot to attract birds," said Divisional Forest Officer, Rajnagar Mangrove (wildlife) Forest Division, Bimal Prasanna Acharya.
The enumerators found hordes of Grebes, Cormorants, Darters, Egrets, Bitterns, Ibises, Finfoots, Gulls, Terns, Skimmer besides winged species of other varities, he said.
The enumerators also found a number of water-inlets had dried up or thinning down of water sources.
Uniform flow of tidal water might have been impeded due to prawn dykes that have come up in the close vicinity of the park, they suspected.
Raising of the environmentally-damaging prawn dykes is illegal in the wildlife sanctuary area.
"These need to be dismantled and razed to the ground to conserve the ecosystem besides the flora and fauna of Bhitarkanika," a conservationist said.
It was a treat to watch feathered species with their chirpy cacophony adding colour to the vibrant eco-system of this region, said a wildlife staff engaged in the annual headcount of birds.
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