The sound of birds chirping and leaves rustling can lull anyone to sleep. Fall or winter is the best time to treat yourself to the tranquillity that birding is all about. Compared to other countries, India has warmer winters so it receives many migratory birds during that time.
Birding is an escape to nature and what better place to do that than a bird sanctuary? Bird sanctuaries are huge areas that advocate the conservation of various species of birds and their natural habitats while promoting rehabilitation and survival.
With more than 1300 species of birds, India is an exotic destination for a bird watcher. Here is a list of the most famous bird sanctuaries in India-
Nal Sarovar Bird Sanctuary, Gujarat- Nal Sarovar is the largest bird sanctuary in India. Its migratory bird population includes rosy pelicans, herons, white storks, flamingos and Brahminy ducks. Between November and February, the lake is home to vast flocks of indigenous and migratory birds.
Ducks, pelicans and flamingos are best seen early in the morning and in the evening and the sanctuary is best visited as a day excursion by personal vehicle, taxi, as buses are infrequent and there is no convenient accommodation. Visitors can hire a boat to roam around a lake and spot different birds.
Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, Rajasthan- It is presently known as Keoladeo National Park and is one of the most famous bird sanctuaries in India. Over 230 species of birds are known to be its resident. The sanctuary is one of the richest bird areas in the world and is known for its nesting of resident birds and visiting migratory birds including water birds.
You can find various species of herons, storks, cranes, ducks, eagles, hawks, etc here. It is also a World Heritage Site. The sanctuary has more than 100000 visitors coming here every year. The park is open from sunrise to sunset around the year. Visitors can also use the food and accommodation facilities available here.
Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, Kerala- This sanctuary is located in the district of Kottayam, on the banks of Vembanad Lake. The major attractions here are parrots, teal, larks, flycatchers, owl, cuckoo, Siberian cranes, waterfowl and many other locals as well as migratory birds.
The best time to visit this place is during the winter months. Watchtowers are best suited to spot some exquisite species. Visitors can also rent houseboats and motorboats for bird watching while cruising on the lake.
Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary, Haryana- Approximately 250 bird species are found in Sultanpur. This includes both migratory and resident species. It is open from 6 am to 4.30 pm. The best time to visit is during winters as that is the time when different species of migratory birds are spotted here.
The common attractions here are the black-necked stork, Siberian crane, common greenshank, northern pintail, yellow wagtail, northern shoveler, rosy pelican, cattle egret, laughing dove Indian roller, white-throated kingfisher, rock pigeon, rose-ringed parakeet, common mynah and little egret. They can be best enjoyed by the watchtowers.
Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, Goa- This sanctuary has been named after the ornithologist Salim Moizuddin Abdul Ali. It is an estuarine mangrove habitat that is accessible by regular ferry services. It is located along the Mandovi River. Several species of birds have been recorded and the common species include the striated heron and western reef heron.
Other species include the little bittern, black bittern, red knot, jack snipe and pied avocet. It is open from 6 am to 6 pm. The bird-watching tower offers ample scope to watch not only various species of birds, but also species of fauna that include Foxes, Jackals, Marsh Crocodiles and Mudskipper Fish.
Pulicat Bird Sanctuary- This is a famous sanctuary located in the Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh and a protected area in Thiruvallur District of Tamil Nadu. Pulicat Lake is the second-largest saltwater lagoon in India after Chilka Lake in Orissa.
Migratory birds mainly from Eastern Europe and Central Asia visit Pulicat Lake Bird Sanctuary. You can also spot Painted Stork, egret, grey pelican, grey heron, seagull and marbled teal here. This place also promotes tourism on Pulicat Lake by sailing in a traditional boat.