Chilika birds prolong winter sojourn

Chilika birds prolong winter sojourn

Mostly the pelicans and flamingoes are still staying in the Nalabana island, the bird sanctuary area in the vast Chilika lake. While most of the winged guests have already left Chilika, the biggest brackish water lagoon in the country, since the last week of February, several species of pelican and flamingoes are yet to leave, Divisional Forest Officer, Chilika Wildlife Division B P Acharya said.

Availability of food and better condition of habitat in the Nalabana area are some of the reasons for their prolonged stay in the Chilika, wildlife experts feel. While around 9.24 lakh birds have visited this winter, around 3.5 lakh birds of different species are still in the lake, the sources said.

The winged guests mostly come from Palaearctic region beyond the Himalayas in the Northern Eurasia, (Caspian region, Siberia, Kazakh, Lake Baikal and the remote areas of Russia and neighboring countries) visit the Chilika every winter to escape the biting cold in their native places.

They come in  mid October and start homeward journey from the last week of February or first week of March. The remaining migratory birds are likely to leave the lake next week. Besides some flamingoes, the other birds are likely to go in phases by the mid-March, said a noted ornithologist.

Several flamingoes have, however, chosen to stay in the Chilika lake making it their permanent home since last several years. Though the exact reason for their stay in the lake was yet to be known, forest officials and experts said they stay here because of the availability of food and good condition of habitat.

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