The birds locally called Kank or “open billed stork” have been thronging Sirabahal village in Deogaon block, around 15km from here, since last decade, much to the joy of bird watchers.
As one enters Sirabahal, besides the school building roof, one would find large numbers of Kank, moving in the sky and making noises.
Sirabahal is a small obscure village in Deogaon block. Thanks to safe habitat, food and water and protection from villagers, they prefer to throng the village in June or just before the festival Sitalsashti by the end of May.
"We do not know where these birds come from and where do they go back but they stay here till Kartik Purnima," said a villager.
After staying here for four months, these birds leave. But those who give birth to chiks, they remain longer, said Basudev Sandh, a villager.
"Initially, to kill the migrated bird, people came here but we drove them away and since then no such incident has taken place. We believe these birds are the harbinger of monsoon as after their arrival, monsoon arrives. Around 1,000 birds are staying in different trees of our village near the pond and mango trees," Basudev added.
These birds eat snail, crab and even small snakes found in paddy fields and in villages. When these birds stay atop mango and tamarind trees, the trees are damaged within three to four years due to the excreta of birds as the droppings are highly acidic. But the banayan, pipal and semel trees suffer less damage, pointed out another villager, adding that a lot of mango trees have been damaged in last few years as these birds make their nest there.
However, this year many a young /small bird died due to heavy and continuous rain and many small birds fell down from the trees. The bird excreta often fall on pond water. This is a worrying point , said a villager while stressing the need for their conservation.