Jharsuguda: Away from the big industries in the town stands Jhadeswar Temple with a peaceful surrounding which has become the favourite habitat for Asian Openbill Stork.
Around this time every year, hundreds of Openbill Storks visit the temple area for nesting. These tall and majestic birds lay eggs and raise their chicks till September when they fly to some other place.
Since the temple area has plenty of trees and offers a peaceful environment, the birds set up a colony of nests. They feed on insects, snails and grains in water bodies and paddy fields. The farmers do not harm the Storks as they clean the fields of harmful insects.
Jharsuguda Divisional Forest Officer Lalit Kumar Patra said like every year, Asian Openbill Stork birds have arrived at Jhadeswar Temple groove. “This year, we are planning to increase the green cover in the area so that it will attract more birds,” he said.
For wildlife lovers and bird watchers, Jhadeswar Temple offers a conducive atmosphere to see the birds from close quarters. “These birds have been visiting the place for many years. I have been tracking them for more than seven years,” said a wildlife enthusiast Asish Shukla.
Stating that birds play a very crucial role in protecting environment, he said they are also indicators of a healthy environment. “We should focus on bird conservation by building a microhabitat here. I would like the industrial houses in the district to come forward and initiate some conservation projects,” Shukla said.