Birds throng Bhitarkanika National Park

Bhubaneswar, With the onset of monsoon, thousands of birds have started arriving in Odisha's Bhitarkanika National Park for nesting, an official said Friday.

Every year, thousands of birds throng the park in Kendrapada district in the first week of June and the nesting process gets over by September. Last year, as many as 79,548 birds were sighted in the park.

"At least three thousand birds have already arrived. Gradually, the number will go up," divisional forest officer Kedar Kumar Swain told IANS.

The local birds sighted in the nesting sites of Bagagahan, a breeding colony of herons and one of the largest in the country, include different varieties of herons, egrets, open bill stork and little cormorant.

The Bhitarkanika Park, about 170-km from here, is also a wildlife sanctuary and 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 mention in the Guinness Book of World Records in 2006 for its 23-feet-long saltwater crocodile listed as the largest in the world.

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