Among the migratory birds are northern pintail, gadwall and shovellers. Ornithologists said early snowfall in their native areas, non-availability of food and recent flood in Jammu & Kashmir might have prompted the birds to migrate to safer places, including Chilika. "Availability of food and favourable weather attracts birds to Chilika," former chief conservators of forest Sudhakar Mohapatra.
The wildlife division has taken steps to protect the feathered guests. "We have set up 17 camps in the lake. Each camp has one regular staffer with three to four persons engaged on daily wage. Our officers are patrolling the waters in boats too," said the DFO.
Last winter, around 7.19 lakh birds of 158 species had come to the lake, while around 8.83 lakh birds of 167 species spent winter in the lagoon in 2012-13.
They mostly come from Northern Eurasia, Caspian region, Siberia, Kazakh, Lake Baikal and remote areas of Russia.
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