Kendrapara (Odisha) | Ornithologists have undertaken synchronised head count of Baya weaver bird, an endangered winged species. These pint-sized birds are conferred protected status under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
Over the years, these winged species are disappearing fast and its sighting has become rare. The census operation is being undertaken under the stewardship of Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) with assistance of local organisations operating in the field of birds’ conservation.
Ornithologists and bird watchers are engaged in the census work, which is presently going on in Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur and Jajpur districts. We have so far enumerated over 500 baya weaver birds, said an ornithologist, Pramod Dhal, who is actively engaged the head count operation.
The weaver birds prefer to nest on large and tall trees like coconut and palm. As there has been decimation of these trees due to cyclonic windstorm and urbanisation, the habitation corridors of baya birds have gone down.
The birds used to throng the countryside marked by tall trees. The increasing use of pesticides in agricultural has caused these grain-feeding birds perish as they fail to withstand toxicity, Dhal said. The head count work would continue for a week. We are hopeful of spotting and counting a sizeable numbers of these birds.
The reserved forest areas, wildlife sanctuaries and national parks have been excluded from the census work as forest department has their own mechanism of counting winter and local migrant birds from time to time, he said. Baya bird is one of the common birds in the state which have inspired many folk songs.
These birds are found mainly in the paddy-cultivating areas. Their seasonal movements are largely determined by paddy and cereal cultivation which provides nesting materials and food. They also eat insects.
The birds look like ordinary house sparrows with stout conical bills and are found in flocks. The nesting season of this bird is from May to September coinciding with the monsoon and paddy cultivation, added Dhal.