Bhubaneswar, August 12 (Odisha.in) Of late, Nandankanan zoological park, located at a distance of about 20 kms from Bhuabneswar has become an ideal breeding ground for Asian Openbill storks.
Just before the monsoon thousands of openbill storks reach Nandankanan and take shelter over the trees near water bodies where they prepare their nests.
Since water bodies in Nandankanan are utilised for breeding of gharial crocodiles, the trees around such water bodies are considered as the safest places for nesting of the openbill storks.
Even outside Nandankanan, these birds are normally not disturbed as they are considered as lucky birds by the villagers, as they feel that these birds bring rain and prosperity to the area.
Dr. Ajit Patnaik , Director, Nandankanan Zoological Park told Odisha.in that though the birds are normally found in northern part of India and are rarely seen in southern part of the country, recently they have preferred to choose Nandankanan as their safe breeding ground.
openbill strokes sitting on the nest
Normally around 2,000 openbill storks crowd the trees around the crocodile ponds and near other water bodies such a large number of this species are rarely seen anywhere in this region.
This is a bird whose flight catches immediate attention. It is one of the most common storks and is found all over the subcontinent. The bird is white or grayish white in colour and the edges of the wings are black.
During flight this black portion of the wing makes it easy to identify the bird. It can be seen in twos threes or even in small flocks near water bodies and marshy areas. Both the sexes are alike.
The bird is very fond of ampullaria snails found in marshes but also eats frogs, crabs, large insects and other small living things. The female lays 2-4 eggs which are white in colour.
After building nests on the trees, these birds lay eggs and the female bird sits on the eggs for hatching while the males go for collection of food. But after the hatchings come out of the eggs, the male birds guard the nests while the females go for collection of food for the chicks.
They feed the chicks with utmost care to ensure their normal growth. After the chicks lean to fly under active supervision of their parents they leave the nests and fly away to distant destinations in northern India only to come back again before the monsoon, for which they are considered as the monsoon guests by the local people and visitors to Nandankanan who heartily enjoy their sight.