Webinar Raises Awareness On Conservation Of Birds Of Odisha’s Mahanadi

Bhubaneswar: It’s important to love birds for more than just their beauty as it can go a long way in protecting nature and ensuring diversity of species, said Gargi Mishra, a bird enthusiast from Odisha who stays in Delhi.

Gargi was in conversation with Ranjan Panda, Convenor of Water Initiatives & Senior Fellow of Foundation for Ecological Security (FES), during a webinar titled ‘Birds of Mahanadi’ on Wild Bird Day.

It was the second webinar in the ‘Human & Ecology Conversation Series’ being organized by Mahanadi River Waterkeeper, Water Initiatives & FES.

Stressing the importance of a bird enthusiast in the conservation of rivers and other wetlands, and biodiversity, Gargi narrated how planting trees in their balcony garden in Delhi attracted birds. “As a baby, my daughter fell in love with them. As she grew up, her love for the species too grew and so did mine,” she said.

“Whenever we visit our home at Sonepur, on the bank of river Mahanadi which hosts a wide range of colourful species, we explore the birds, their features, names, ecological significance, food, habitat and nature. We started documenting the birds of Mahanadi and discussed with experts for more knowledge,” revealed Gargi, describing many species she and her daughter Athiya have documented from this basin.

Birds are very important in maintaining the health of rivers and other wetlands, they are also scavengers and help clean our surroundings. “However, we are exposing them to serious pollution,” said Ranjan responding to some of the participants’ queries. “Our wetlands are shrinking at an alarming rate and that’s not a healthy sign at all.”

Gargi pointed out that if this avian diversity is to be protected, their habitats will have to be safeguarded first.

“Besides industrial pollution and urban wastes, micro-plastic pollution is emerging as a huge problem for our birds. About 150 bird species have gone extinct just in the last decade and that is no good news,” warned Gargi.

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