In  an  unprecedented  mobilization  of  human  resources  for  the  cause  of  wildlife

conservation, 560 (five hundred sixty) persons participated surveying and counting weaver

birds in the just concluded Odisha Weaver Bird Count 2019. ‘Wild Orissa’ alongwith Odisha Chapter of Indian Bird Conservation Network (IBCN), who have been conducting Weaver Bird Counts in state of Odisha since 2016 annually, organized this years’ count. This count was the

4th consecutive weaver bird count in the state of Odisha, which focussed on three species of

weavers, belonging to family Ploceidae, resident in Odisha, viz., Baya Weaver Ploceus philippinus, Streaked Weaver Ploceus manyar and Black-breasted Weaver or Black-throated Weaver Ploceus benghalensis. ‘Wild Orissa‘ is the coordinator for Indian Bird Conservation Network in state of Odisha.

Wild Orissa‘ states the following are the census figures for Odisha from this years’ count:

(1) Baya Weaver Ploceus philippinus– 14193 (fourteen thousands one hundred and ninety three)

(2) Streaked Weaver Ploceus manyar– 3000 (three thousands) (3) Black-breasted Weaver Ploceus benghalensis– 35 (thirty five)

Total  weaver  birds  counted  during  2019  in  Odisha:  17228  (seventeen  thousands  two hundred and twenty eight)

During 2018 a total of 11676 weavers were counted, comprising of the 3 species of birds as  mentioned above).  So  there  has  been  an  increase  of  5552  number of  weaver  birds counted in Odisha this year in comparison to last year.

Wild Orissa‘ states that this year a total of 18 districts in the state of Odisha was covered for counting weaver birds, against 10 districts covered for counting during 2018. This increased coverage for counting was possible due to enthusiastic participation of people from

all corners of the state!! The districts covered include Angul, Bhadrak, Boudh, Cuttack, Dhenkanal, Ganjam, Jagatsingpur, Jajpur, Kendrapada, Keonjhar, Khurda, Mayurbhanj, Nabarangur, Nayagarh, Phulbani, Puri, Sambalpur and Sundargarh.

The volunteers, guided by experts from ‘Wild Orissa’ covered remote sites in the state, enabling to compile critical information helpful for conservation of weavers in Odisha. Volunteers included from septuagenarians to teenagers!! Such was the enthusiasm generated for these friendly species of birds!!

The participants were farmers, villagers, pensioners, policemen, paramilitary personnel, central government employees, state government employees, school teachers, college lecturers, school students, college students, small business, etc.

Wild Orissa‘ states that what was indeed heartening to note is the large amount of love and affection which exists for the weaver birds in the state of Odisha. Being a species which predominantly inhabits human-dominated landscapes, it is extremely important to have local people’s support for their conservation.

The  main  persons  who  have  played  a  major  role,  coordinated  and  guided  the participants in this year weaver bird census are:

  1. 1. Shri Sulabha Sethi (Wild Orissa)
  2. 2. Shri Mohan Rao J. (Wild Orissa)
  3. 3. Shri Nanda Kishore Bhujabal (Wild Orissa)
  4. 4. Shri Aditya Dash (Nayagarh)
  5. 5. Shri Gananath Nayak (Sambalpur & Angul)
  6. 6. Shri Gobardhan Sahu (Jajpur)
  7. 7. Shri Rama Hari Behera (Mangalajodi)
  8. 8. Shri Shyam Sundar Bhoi
  9. 9. Shri Rabindra Nath Sahu (Ganjam)

10.Shri Antaryami Sahoo (Nayagarh)

11.Shri Sudhanwa Dash (Wild Orissa)

12.Shri Sanatan Paikray (Cuttack)

It may be recollected that Odisha was hit by Cyclone Fani a little more than 2 (two) months ago, and the high turnout by the citizens of Odisha reflects the genuine concerns by the people not only for the state for the well being of its rich biodiversity.

The census showed as to how damaging Cyclone Fani has been on the breeding habitats of weaver species. The district of Puri, Kendrapada, Jagatsingpur and some parts of Khurda,

which experienced maximum onslaught of Fani, showed blanks in most parts , which in the past years had counted healthy figures of weavers. On a few Palm Trees/Coconut Trees etc. which survived, the weavers especially Baya Weavers Ploceus philippinus built their nests in big numbers.

Weavers are highly social birds; and are known for their nest-weaving skills. Among the three species  of  weaver birds, Baya Weaver Ploceus philippinus is  the  most familiar and common bird in the country. This species builds overhanging nests built in colonies, usually above water or in a well. It’s food includes grains, seeds, and small insects. The breeding season ranges between April to August. The male weaver appears yellow in breeding plumage, male builds their retort-shaped nests in colonies, they continuously sing during nest building. The Baya Weaver has a polygamous breeding system means one male builds multiple nests and mates with many females (not necessarily at the same time). Urbanization, agricultural practices,  industrialization, development,  human  population,  deforestation are  the  major threats to this species. All Indian Weaver species are protected and listed in Schedule IV of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

During the years 2016, 2017 & 2018, Odisha stood first amongst all the states in the country w.r.t. weaver bird numbers, which were counted by ‘Wild Orissa’ & Odisha Chapter of IBCN.

Participants had been requested to record and report the sightings of weavers during the period 1st June 2019 upto 15th July 2019 in Odisha as follows:

For each site/spot the following was required:

  1. 1. Name of spot/site
  2. 2. Number of weaver (species-wise) counted
  3. 3. Number of nests counted
  4. 4. Trees & plants being used for nest building
  5. 5. Names of volunteer(s)/person(s) who participated

This year 8665 weaver bird nests were counted, in comparison to 852 nests counted last year, which is a spectacular jump.

The important findings from 2019 Odisha Weaver Bird Count:

  1. 1. Cyclone Fani has severely damaged most of the trees, in Puri, Jagatsingpur, etc. districts on which Baya Weavers Ploceus philippinus build their nests vi Coconut trees, Palm trees, Date Palm trees, with the result that the districts which experienced more cyclonic impact gave comparatively fewer numbers.
  1. 2. Streaked Weaver Ploceus manyar which build nests on reeds and reed-grasses in wetlands, were seen in far lesser numbers this year in comparison to last year. This is due to severe Cyclone Fani which damaged reeds and reed-grasses. During 2018- 7200 Streaked Weavers were counted, while this year vi 2019 only 3000 could be counted.
  2. 3. Black-breasted Weaver Ploceus benghalensis which used to come to Odisha in good numbers, this year appear to have given Odisha a big miss. Only 35 birds could be seen, as compared to

1100 last year. The reason is again Cyclone Fani, which destroyed their nesting sites.

  1. 4. The most  important  reason  for  spectacular  increase  in  Baya  Weaver  Ploceus  philippinus

numbers this year, can be said due to extra coverage of sites by volunteers and participants.

  1. 5. At the same time, due to the sheer tenacity and resilience of the weaver bird species, who are extremely hardworking and industrious, every small nesting place available was fully utilized to build nests. Volunteers have counted upto 67 nests on a single Palm tree in Ganjam district while 88 nests have been counted on a single Palm tree in Jagatsingpur district. 88 number of nests on single tree could well be a record for India.
  2. 6. Cutting of palm & date palm trees and toddy extraction from date palm trees by people, resulting in leaves and branches being cut, was a reason as to why weavers did not chose many date palm trees for nest building
  3. 7. Urban and semi-urban areas in Odisha, like Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Rourkela, Sambalpur, are becoming devoid of weaver birds due to non-availibility of proper trees for building nests
  4. 8. Rural and areas where much development has not taken place still have good number of weavers

The  findings  from  Odisha  will  be  communicated  to  the  Govern ment  of  Odisha, Government of India, and certain other research and conservation organizations.



About Editor in chief

Ashok Palit has completed his graduation from Upendranath College Soro, Balasore and post graduation from Utkal University in Odia Language and literture.. He has also carved out a niche for himself as a scribe of eminence after joining the profession in 1988. He is also an independent media production professional. He brings loads of experience to Advanced Media, Ashok Palit as a cineaste has been active in film criticism for over three decades. As a film society activist, he soared to eminence for his profound commitment to the art film appreciation and aesthetics of cinema. His mode of discourse is often erudite but always lucid and comprehensible marked by a perfect acumen so rare in the field. A film aesthete with an immense fond of critical sensibilities, he wrote about growth and development of odia cinema in New Indian Express, The Times of India, The Hindustan Times, The Asian Age and Screen. He has been working as an Editor for Cine Samaya from 2002-2004.. He had made solid contribution on cinema in many odia Dailies and weekly such as Samaj, Prajatantra, Dharatri, Samaya, Satabadi, and weekly Samaya.

Check Also

Schedule for Bye-election in Assembly Constituencies of Maharashtra, Bihar, Haryana, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha

Newdelhi:4/10/22:The Commission has decided to hold the bye-election to fill vacancies in the following Assembly Constituencies of Maharashtra, Bihar, Haryana, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha: – Sl. No. Name of ...