Bhubaneswar: More residential birds thronged the new nesting site of Odisha’s Bhitarkanika National Park during the monsoon season against last year, a senior park official said Thursday.

Divisional Forest Officer Manoj Kumar Mohapatra told IANS the total number of adult birds and chicks sighted this year in Mathadia area were 21,432 and 26,844, respectively.

Mathadia is located close to Bagagahan, a heronry (a breeding colony of herons), one of the largest in the country.

Eight officials and experts conducted the census Aug 8-13 for monsoon birds in the park in Kendrapada, about 170 km from the state capital Bhubaneswar.

Mohapatra said the total number of adult birds and chicks sighted this year in the park, including Bagagahan and Mathadia, was 35,090 and 44,458 respectively.

He said egrets, pond heron, night heron, cormorant, black ibis, grey heron, purple heron, open bill stork and darter were among the birds sighted.

Every year, thousands of residential birds throng the park in the first week of June and the nesting process gets over by September.

The Bhitarkanika Park, also a wildlife sanctuary, is home to over 200 species of birds, including 98 varieties of migratory ones.

The sanctuary is widely known as the world’s largest rookery of Olive Ridley sea turtles.

The sanctuary found a mention in the Guinness Book of World Records in 2006 with its 23-foot saltwater crocodile listed as the largest in the world.

The park is also home to thousands of migratory birds during the winter and early summer months.

Source: IANS