Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Balugaon/ Brahmapur, Apr 30:
Migratory bird species flamingos and pelicans, that land in large numbers in Odisha’s sprawling Chilika lagoon every winter, do not appear to have been affected by the scorching summer as they have stuck tp the 15.5 sq km Nalabana bird sanctuary, their winter home.
Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), Chilika Wildlife Division, BP Acharya says while almost all other migratory birds have left the lagoon long ago, these elegant species have decided to stay on.
The DFO said the exact number of these winged guests, that have overstayed, will be known only after the summer census of birds which will be undertaken in the third week of May.
According to official sources, around 7.19 lakh birds belonging to 158 species visited Chilika last winter.
Noted ornithologist and retired Forest officer Sudhakar Mohapatra says Chilika has become a home away from home for them.
He says it’s not the first time that migratory birds have stayed back in the lagoon during summer and that is because it has turned out to be a good habitat with availability of food in plenty for them.
Mohapatra, however, feels there is need to undertake a comprehensive study to crack the reasons behind the prolonged stay of the flamingos and pelicans in the lake.
According to the ornithologist, as soon as monsoon arrives, the flamingos and pelicans will leave for Kutch in Gujarat for breeding and will get back to in Chilika only next winter.
Local fishermen, however, say although they disappear for a few months during monsoon, the flamingos are as good as resident birds here. They also believe the lagoon owes its name to the flamingo bird which is known as ‘chilluka’ in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh. Interstingly, they say flamingos may be migrating to Kutch for breeding but it is Chilika which they consider their home.