Migratory birds start arriving at Chilika, numbers are down


  • Migratory birds have started arriving at the wetlands of Odisha’s Chilika Lake — one of the largest wintering grounds in Asia, but not in their usual numbers this year.
  • The arrival of migratory birds is awaited with the onset of winter every year. This year, however, fewer winged visitors have descended on the mudflats of the lake.
  • Close to one million birds congregate on the mudflats of the lake during winter.
  • The lake, spread over 1,000 sq km, is home to 230 bird species, out of which 97 are intercontinental migrants from the Artic and Eurasian regions.
  • The lake has been a designated Ramsar site (a wetland of international importance) since 1981.

Rain-induced flooding

  • The Nalabana Bird Sanctuary and Mangalajodi, the two major places where the birds congregate, also have not received the usual numbers. “Many migratory birds are flying in v-shape over Chilika and assessing the situation. Once the mudflats are exposed, birds will descend in lakhs,” said Mr. Nanda.
  • One of the reasons behind the low turnout is the flooding after incessant rain triggered by cyclone Titli that hit the Odisha coast in the second week of October.


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