This winter came with twin good news both for nature as well as bird watchers. 145 species of birds were spotted during the first Sundarban Bird Festival, an official said on Saturday.

The two-day bird festival which ended on Friday was conducted by the Sundarbans Tiger Reserve of West Bengal Forest Department.

Sunderbans area is scattered over North 24 Parganas and South 24 Parganas districts of West Bengal.

Forest officials have sighted 145 different bird species in the current winter season in the Sunderbans region, out of which two were from extremely rare and almost extinct species.

Eurasian Curlew.
Eurasian Curlew.IANS

The two bird species are Lesser Sand Plover and Eurasian Curlew, said S. Justin Jones, the deputy field director of Sunderban Tiger Reserve.

Eurasian Curlew is a migratory range of bird species mainly wintering in South Asia, South Europe and Africa and Lesser Sand Plover mainly above the tree-line in the Himalayas and occasionally in the coastal plains of north-eastern Siberia.

Jones said that while the forest department initially estimated that around 100 species of birds will be spotted in the region, the actual findings was higher than the expectation at 145.

"Of the bird species, 128 were spotted in the buffer zone, Kalas-2 region sighted the maximum number of species," he added.

Sunderbans in West Bengal.creative commons

Meanwhile, a state forest department official said that they are taking some steps to attract more migratory species of birds in the Sunderbans from the next winter season.

"The fact that the maximum number of species have been detected in the buffer zones is also a cause of concern. So, we have decided to start awareness campaign drive among the villagers residing near the islands favourite for the migratory species. We will make the villagers aware on how to make these islands an ideal destination for these migratory species of birds," he said.

(With inputs from IANS)