Berhampur, Feb 16: The migratory birds, which had flocked to Odisha’s Chilika lake for their winter sojourn, have not yet started their homeward journey, a senior forest official said.
Availability of food and safety might be the reason for their prolonged stay in the lake though day temperature is on the rise, Divisional Forest Officer of Chilika wildlife division, Bikash Ranjan Das, said.
The birds might return in the third or last week of this month after a further rise in temperature, the DFO said.
Last winter, the winged guests were on their way back in the second week of February with sudden rise in the day temperature.
“Though temperature has increased during daytime, nights are still cold. This might be one of the reasons for the migratory birds to spend some more days in Chilika,” said Sudhakar Mohapatra, retired chief conservator of forests.
As many as 8,93,390 birds of 147 different species visited the lake during this winter. The sprawling Nalabana bird sanctuary hosted 3,20,826 birds this winter, he sid.
The birds, mainly the duck species, were seen in new areas like Parikuada, Krushna Prasad and some other places in the lake after demolition of prawn gheries (farms) there, the DFO said.
The birds might have flocked to the new places in the lake due to lack of human activities after the eviction of the prawn farms, said the officer.
Avian species, mostly from beyond the Himalayas, northern Eurasia, the Caspian region, Siberia, Kazakhstan, Lake Baikal and the northern regions of Russia and its neighbouring countries visit the lake every winter and return before the onset of the summer.