According to the census, 8,77,322 avian guests have perched in Chilika Lake this winter

Two new species of migratory birds, Goliath Heron and Mallard were sighted in Chilika Lake for the first time in history.

They were sighted during the bird census conducted in the lake on Sunday. According to the recent bird census, 8,77,322 avian guests have perched in Chilika Lake this winter.

According to Assistant Conservator of Forests (ACF), Chandramani Behera, the number of birds sighted this year in Chilika was around 6,000 less than the number enumerated during January 2012.

But Mr. Behera, said it was nothing to be alarmed of as nothing can be ascertained about the behaviour and perching choice of migratory birds.

Last winter 8,83,060 birds had perched in Chilika lake wetland.

But the welcome fact that has emerged from the recent bird census was that the variety of birds coming to the lagoon has increased.

Last winter 165 species of birds were sighted in Chilika Lake.

But as per the recent census total number of bird species sighted in the Chilika lake had risen to 180.

The Mallard, which were sighted for the first time in this lagoon are wild ducks mostly found in temperate and subtropical areas. They are a medium-sized waterfowl species.

The other bird sighted for the first time was Goliath Heron which is also known as the Giant Heron.

Goliath Heron is a very large wading bird of the heron family Ardeidae, forest officials said.

They are mostly found in sub-Saharan Africa, with smaller numbers in Southwest and South Asia.

This winter the bird perching in Nalabana bird sanctuary area inside the Chilika lake has increased by around 20,000 in comparison to last year, said Mr. Behera. Last year only 40 flamingos were sighted in Nalabana area. But this year 1,140 flamingos had perched in the Nalabana sanctuary.

He attributed it to the conducive weather in Nalabana area for the migratory birds.

Forest department had cleared weeds on the shallow water and shores on four hectares of land in the Nalabana sanctuary.

With removal of these weeds the clear surface proved to be an attraction for the perching birds who found their food in this area easily.