Thousands of migratory birds make Hirakud dam their home

December 8, 2009 at 2:55 pm Leave a comment

Following is a report from the express

  • Govt. should consider opening a Centre for Ornithology in Sambalpur University. This can be done in collaboration with Department of Life Sciences, Sambalpur University.

As the winter sets in, migratory birds make the Hirakud dam reservoir their temporary abode. Over 50,000 birds of various varieties migrate here every year and stay for four months before flying back in the first week of March.

Much to the delight of wildlife experts and bird lovers, hordes of migratory birds have already descended on the Hirakud reservoir with many more expected soon.

Thousands of migratory birds from far-flung areas including the Caspian Sea, Baikal Lake, Aral Sea, Mongolia, Central and South East Asia and Himalaya region flock to the reservoir in the first week of November every year for winter sojourn. The winged guests stay about five months in the reservoir which forms the largest artificial lake in Asia with an area of 746 sq km and a shoreline of over 640 km.

Nearly 20-25 species of birds are seen in the reservoir and common among them are Common Pochard, Red Crusted Pochard, Great Duck Bill, Spot Bill (Grey Duck), Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, Pond Heron, Painted Stork, Whiskered Tern, Indian River Tern, Gadwall, Red Wattled Lapwing and Black Winged Stilt.

They normally settle at Zero Point in Burla, Pitapali, Rampela, Budakanta, Launch Station, Balbaspur in Sambalpur district, Ubuda, Marang, Bhatlikanta, Desar, Ganakhulia, Unneishkhanda Mauza in Jharsuguda and Tamdei Rengali, Govindpur, Barduma in Ambhabhona block of Bargarh district.

However, the declining number of birds arriving at the reservoir and their overstay in the region have raised concern among the bird lovers.

Last year, a good number of birds stayed up till middle of May which is an unlikely behaviour for the birds. While the cause is yet to be ascertained, it is being attributed to climate change. Some experts also opine that safe living conditions and abundance of food may be the reasons behind longer stay.

Usually the arrival of birds is enumerated in January every year. As per reports, at least 56,834 birds of 21 varieties visited the reservoir in January 2005 while the number of birds declined to 49,174 of 26 varieties in January 2006. The number declined further to 36,740 of 18 varieties in January 2007 which went down to 22,443 this year.

Noted environmentalist Artabandhu Mishra said any comment on the number was premature as no study was made by any ornithologist in Hirakud reservoir like that of Chilika to assess the number of birds visiting the reservoir site.

Mishra said availability of food and safe living conditions are the factors that determine visit of migratory birds at a place. “Unfortunately, no one had tried to delve into the subject of finding out when and how the behaviour of migratory birds change. Unlike Chilika, Hirakud does not have ornithologists to study the behaviour of birds,” he added.


Entry filed under: Hirakud, Region watch, Sambalpur, Sambalpur-Chipilima-Hirakud-Huma-Kandhara-Ushakothi, Tourism Zones.

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