The bird population in Chilika, Asia’s largest brackish water lagoon located in Odisha, has increased this year by over 1.55 lakh compared with last winter, forest officials said.

The annual bird census conducted by the Chilika wildlife Division on Friday revealed that a total of 10,47,868 birds belonging to 181 different species have taken shelter in the 1,100-sq km vast lagoon this winter, they said. These included 105 species of waterfowls and 76 species of water dependent birds, the Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), said Bikash Ranjan Das of Chilika Wildlife Division.

Last winter, a total of 8,93,390 birds belonging to 147 different species had been counted in the lake, he said. The census has revealed that this winter a total of 3,93,541 of migratory birds took shelter at the Nalabana Bird Sanctuary area. Ornithologists are delighted as the Lesser Flamingo has returned to the lake after four years.