"During the annual bird census that ended Sunday, a total 7,19,262 birds were sighted by enumerators in the Lake, against last year's 8,77,322.
"One of the important highlights of the census was that we sighted nine near-threatened bird species," Divisional Forest Officer (wildlife) B.P Acharya told IANS.
"They are river tern, Asian dowitcher, spot-billed pelican, oriental darter, Eurasian curlew, Eurasian spoonbill, Pallas's fish eagle, painted stork, and black-tailed godwit", he said.
The 1,000-sq km lake, about 100 km from state capital Bhubaneswar, is spread over the districts of Puri, Khordha and Ganjam along the eastern coast and is home to some of the largest congregations of migratory birds in the country.
Every year, about a million migratory birds come to the lake in October and return in March. This year, an estimated 158 species of birds were found in the lake. Of these, 99 species were migratory and 59 residential, he said.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has assigned near- threatened (NT) status to species that may be considered threatened with extinction in the near future.
--IANS (Posted on 13-01-2014)