BERHAMPUR: The annual bird census in Chilika will be carried out on Sunday by wildlife wing of the forest department. Besides wildlife staff, several experts of different organizations will carry out the headcount.
A training programme of enumerators was held at Wetland Training and Research Centre, Chandraput, near Balugaon on Saturday. As many as 75 experts from different organizations took part. Joint director of Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) Balachandran trained the enumerators in methods of counting birds.
This year's bird census has assumed significance as Chilika, particularly Nalabana Bird Sanctuary, was battered by Phailin on October 12. The impact of cyclone on migration of birds will be known during the census, sources said. The 15.59 sq km Nalabana gets the highest number of winged guests in Chilika.
The BNHS in collaboration with Chilika Development Authority (CDA) has already started a study to assess the impact of Phailin on migration of birds. "The census will give a clear picture," said an ornithologist.
"We have formed 20 groups for counting in the lake, spread over 1,100 sq km," said divisional forest officer (Chilika wildlife division) B P Acharya.
Experts of different organizations like BNHS, Wild Odisha, National Board of Wildlife, Regional Museum and Natural History and CDA would participate in the bird count, he said.
Last winter, around 8.77 lakh birds of 180 species visited the lake. Of them around 3.46 lakh birds were sighted at Nalabana. Out of 180 species, 112 were migratory species, sources said.
The plumed guests from far-off places like Caspian Sea, Lake Baikal, remote parts of Russia, central and South-East Asia, Ladakh and Himalayas flock to the lake every winter.