Endangered bird species have found a haven in the state for breeding, raising hopes for their conservation among bird enthusiasts and ornithologists.
City-based birdwatchers, after prolonged observation, have found out mating and nesting activities by the Indian skimmer, a vulnerable species according to International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, the endangered black-bellied tern and the near-threatened river tern on a riverine island in the Mahanadi at Munduli near Cuttack.
Birdwatcher Sumant Rajguru, after noticing the birds scraping the sand in February, roped in his friends Panchami Manoo Ukil and Avinash Khemka and followed their movements.
They informed the state forest and environment department, which authorised them to document the breeding process.
"We took immediate steps because of the rarity and national importance of the event. We asked the Chandaka wildlife division forest officer to provide protection to the area so that their activities were not disturbed," said department secretary Suresh Chandra Mohapatra.
The water resource department also regulated the river's level to avoid the nests being submerged. A team from Bombay Natural History Society recorded and monitored the home range and movement of the birds.
These locally migratory birds are usually sighted in Bhitarkanika, Dhamra, Nalabana, Satkosia and Munduli but this is the first time that a nesting site has been discovered.
The watchers have also photographed hatching of all the three species and the nesting behaviour of the parent birds.