With the winter setting in, the marshy wetlands in Odisha's Bhitarkanika National Park are agog with the tweets of migratory birds from across continents.
The constant chirping in the wetlands in Kendrapara district indicates that the winged guests have arrived for their winter sojourn, a forest official said on Tuesday.
Though it is just early winter, around 15,000 birds have already arrived. Their arrival has been noticed in the past one week, Rajnagar Mangrove (Wildlife) Divisional Forest Officer Bikash Ranjan Das said.
They have been seen at Raipatia and Satabhaya waterbodies and the creeks in the mangrove forest in an area stretching for about a kilometre. Among them are birds from central Asia, he said.
As winter progresses, the number of winged guests will swell up considerably as they will arrive in large numbers on a daily basis to escape the freezing weather in their homelands in the northern hemisphere, Das said.
The migratory birds prefer the Bhitarkanika and Chilka wetlands as these spots are free from human interference and they don't face any problem in finding food in the area, which is crisscrossed by innumerable water inlets and nullahs, he said.
The winged guests make the wetlands their home till March-end. Most of them fly back to their homelands with the onset of summer, he said.
Prominent among the winged visitors to Bhitarkanika this year are endangered species like Indian Skimmers, Grey Pelicans and White-backed Vultures, Lesser Adjutant and Greater Spotted Eagles, Das said.
Other birds that have been sighted include Black-tailed Godwit, Northern Pin Tail, Lesser Whistling Duck, Grey Plover, Egret Spotted Bills, Oriental Darter, White Belley Seagull and Black-necked Stork, he added.