Jharsuguda : In spite of having several big industries in Jharsuguda, it also has rich natural abundance in and around it. Among one of them, Asian Open Bill Stork birds (Anastomus oscitans) which have chosen the famous and sacred groove of Jhadeswar temple as their nesting place for a couple of years. Each year these birds fly down here and lay their eggs and hatch their young ones and fly back to another place.
This area, which is a little far from the habitat and has a silent environment, has been the best place for the last couple of years, where this Openbill Strok comes in large numbers and setups colony of nest around the trees. These tall and majestic birds arrive here during the month of May and remain here till September to raise their chicks.
Interestingly, each year their arrival coincides with Akshaya Tritiya- a pious day for Hindus.
Openbill Stork which is considered not to be a migratory bird, rather a resident bird which lives close to water bodies and paddy fields. This bird is very helpful to farmers as it feeds on Snails which are very destructive to agriculture & vegetable crops.
The Asian Open Bill breeds colonially, building a rough platform of sticks often on half-submerged trees, typically laying two to four eggs. The nests are close to each other leading to considerable jostling among neighbours. Both parents take turns in incubation, the eggs hatching after about 25 days. The chicks emerge with cream coloured down and are shaded by the loosely outspread and drooped wings of a parent.
They also produce low honking notes accompanied by up and down movements of the bill when greeting a partner arriving at the nest.
However, the species is very rare in the Sind and Punjab regions of Pakistan, but widespread and common in India, Sri Lanka, Burma and Thailand.
Being revered as the abode of Lord Mahadev, the sacred the groove of Jhadeswar temple is protected by the local people and therefore it has managed to escape from the axe of ever-rising tentacles of so-called development.
The local Wildlife enthusiast Asish Shukla says that” These birds who are visiting this mangrove just because they like a peaceful place and its is a very good sign that despite pollution in Jharsuguda, these birds have been visiting this place since many years. I suggest if we grow number foliage trees in and around this temple then, the number would also increase and hopefully, many more other species may also come here.”