What makes Uttar Pradesh a birder's paradise? Is it the fact that the state has the advantage of being the largest in the country? Or the fact that rivers like the Ganges, Yamuna, Tapti and Gandak covers the longest distance in the state which also means numerous wetlands and ox bow lakes? It's both of these. Uttar Pradesh enjoys one of the best suited geographical features in the country making it a perfect host to 500 species of birds, migratory and resident. Here listed are 10 of the state's 27 bird sanctuaries:
Lakh Bahosi Bird Sanctuary
The 80sq km bird sanctuary comprises of two ox-bow lakes--Lakh and Bahosi, along with other neighbouring wetlands. The waterbodies are an important breeding and nesting habitat for water fowls. Water fowls like greylag goose, black-headed gull, white storm, bar-headed goose, Northern pintail, and residents like open-billed storm, painted stork, woolly-necked storm and black-necked stork make this place an 'Important Bird Area' (IBA). Chances of spotting the vulnerable greater-spotted eagle is also very good here.
Samaspur Bird Sanctuary
Located in Rae-Bareilly, the sanctuary had give lakes, home to around 200 species of migratory birds. Some of the migratory birds that visit this sanctuary are--greylag goose, bar-headed goose, white-eyed pochard, wigeon, breaking duck, great-crested grebe, among many others.
Shaheed Chandra Sekhar Azad Bird Sanctuary
The perfect combination of permanent freshwater lake and marshland makes this sanctuary a home to birds flying in from northern Europe, Tibet, China and Siberia.
Sandi Bird Sanctuary
Though very small in size (3sq km), this sanctuary is important because among other avian visitors, it is also home to over 200 sarus cranes. Apart from birds, the sanctuary also include fox, jackal, Indian porcupine, the Indian soft shelled turtle, Indian roof turtle, Indian flap shelled turtle and spotted pond turtle. Also, a great habitat for reptiles like red sand boa, wolf snake, rat snake, common krait and Russell viper.
Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar Bird Sanctuary
This region has a very large tract of the Gangetic plains. Birds like rosy pelican, garganey teal, surkhab, glossy ibis reside among other reptiles, fishes, amphibians and invertebrates.
Patna Bird Sanctuary
Located in Jalesar, this sanctuary is the smallest one in Uttar Pradesh, covering an area of just 1sq km. But size doesn't matter here as more than 180 species of birds make this their home. Best time to visit is during winter as it is then that most migratory birds arrive. The sight and sound of so many birds in an area as small as that is an experience no border will want to miss.
Saman Bird Sanctuary
Spread over just 5.25sq km, this sanctuary is one of the best places to spot the graceful sarus crane.
Soor Sarovar Bird Sanctuary
Located conveniently on the Delhi-Agra highway, Soor Sarovar Bird Sanctuary is home to over 126 species of migratory and resident waterfowls. Also popularly known as Keetham Lake, the sanctuary has good walking paths where one has good chances of encountering hog deer, spotted deer, nilgai and monitor lizard.
Vijay Sagar Bird Sanctuary
Best time to visit is November-December-January. Over 200 species of birds make this their home. Look for pintail, common teal, crested pochard, to name a few.
Okhla Bird Sanctuary
One of the most visited bird sanctuaries in North India, if not in the whole country, Okhla Bird Sanctuary is a blissful location for birding for both experts and novice. There is a narrow walking trail inside the sanctuary; watchword strategically placed for great view of the sanctuary.