Lakhs of migratory birds have made their way to Chilika Lake (Odisha) after a long flight of thousands of miles. Major bird congregations were spotted in wetlands of Nalabana Bird Sanctuary inside Chilika and Mangalajodi, a major village on banks of lake.
During winter season, migratory birds fly across continents from Caspian Sea, Baikal Lake and remote parts of Russia, Mongolia and Siberia and flock to the marshy lands of Nalabana Bird Sanctuary inside Chilika Lake, which is spread across over 1000 sq. km.
Chilika Lake or lagoon is the largest coastal lagoon or brackish water lake in India and Asia and second largest lagoon in the world after New Caledonian barrier reef in New Caledonia, US. It spread over Puri, Khurda and Ganjam districts of Odisha state on east coast of India, covering an area of over 1,100 km2 at mouth of Daya River, flowing into Bay of Bengal.
It is largest wintering ground for migratory waterfowl found anywhere on Indian sub-continent. It is one of the hotspot of biodiversity in country and some rare, vulnerable and endangered species listed in IUCN Red List of threatened Animals inhabit in lagoon for atleast part of their life cycle.
It was designated as the first “Ramsar Site” of India on account of its rich bio-diversity and ecological significance. Nalaban Island within the lagoon is notified as Bird Sanctuary under Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. It also has been identified as a priority site for conservation and management.