Kendrapara: The latest bird census at Bhitarkanika National Park has showed a sharp decline in the population of winged guests this year raising concern about the fate of the migratory beauties.

While there was a surge in the bird count from 81,401 birds in 2015 to 1,0,6,356 birds in 2016, this year the count was the lowest ever at 76,268 which is around 30,000 less than the previous year.

The mid-winter migratory bird census of the current year was found to be the lowest in the last three years, forest official said. “This year, we sighted only around 76,268 birds after conducting a proper survey in the water body and mangrove,” Divisional Forest Officer of Bhitarkanika National Park said on Friday.

As many as 16 teams were engaged in the survey, which found 109 species of migratory birds. These include the Open billed stork, Little Cormorant, Median Egret, Large Egret, Little Egret, Purple Heron, Night Heron, Grey Heron, Darter, White Ibis and Cattle Egret, Grey-backed Shrike, Ruddy kingfisher, Red-necked Phalarrope, Western Reef Egret, Oriental Honey Buzzard, Blue-Winged Leafbird, Great Thick-knee, Great Knot, Tawny Pipit and Goliath Heron, said the forest officer

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