Birding is a common activity in most wildlife sanctuaries and national parks. But Karnataka has several exclusive bird sanctuaries, a few hardly known beyond the state’s boundaries, where you can observe the winged denizens at leisure. In most of these bird sanctuaries, the local species are joined by their migratory friends between December and February.
One of the smallest sanctuaries of Karnataka, Adichunchanagiri is a peafowl sanctuary. But, according to the state forest department, you may also chance upon a host of other birds, including endemic species such as yellow throated Bulbul and white winged Black Tit, and small animals, including palm squirrel, jungle cat, flying fox, etc. The place is named after the nearby pilgrim town of Chunchanagiri. The sanctuary can be reached from Mandya, 60km away, its nearest railway station and from Bengaluru, 125 km away, its nearest airport.
The Karnataka forest department decided to develop the area around the reservoir at Attiveri (constructed in 1992 under Yallapur Forest Division) when it found birds were congregating here in large numbers. In 2000, the place became known as the Attiveri Bird Sanctuary. According to forest department, white ibis, herons, little cormorants, spoonbills, painted storks are some of the species breed here. While common birds such as lapwings, water hen, stilts, darter, etc. are found here throughout the year, migratory birds such as Pintails, Garganey, shovellers, plovers etc., arrive here for breeding between November and February. The nearest airport and railway station is Hubli, 43 km away by road.
This bird sanctuary in Karnataka’s Belgaum district takes its name from the Ghataprabha River that flows through it. The sanctuary spreads over 20 small islands dotting the river. Egrets (cattle, large and little), white ibis, lesser pied snakebird, open billed storks, little cormorants, spoonbill, kingfisher, Red wattle lapwing etc. are some of the common birds seen here. According to the state forest department, migratory birds like Demoiselle cranes and Europian white storks are usually seen between November and February. The Gokak waterfalls, where the Ghataprabha rivers jumps down a 170 feet rock wall, is located in the eastern part of the sanctuary and is a popular tourist attraction. The sanctuary is 65 km from Belgaum its nearest airport and 13 km from Gokak, the nearest town.
A sanctuary for painted storks (kokkere) and spot-billed pelicans, the Kokrebellur or Kokkerebellur village is about 15km off the Bengaluru-Mysore highway. The birds reside in the tamarind and other trees that dot the village and have survived owing to the protection offered by the villagers. According to local people, they use the bird droppings as manure for their sugarcane fields. Other than these two species, you are likely to spot cormorants, ibis, and different kinds of herons. And while travelling to or from the village, do not forget to stop at Maddur to taste its famous ‘vada’.
Take a boat ride to explore this popular Karnataka wildlife sanctuary that spreads over six islands on the Cauvery River. Colonies of mixed species of birds live on the trees that line the river banks. Cormorants, open billed storks, painted storks, ibis, and spoonbills are some of the common birds seen here. In winter, they are joined by a host of migratory birds. Apart from small animals such as civets, mongoose, monitor lizards in the forested areas, there are also crocodiles in the river. The sanctuary is also a popular picnic zone in winter. The place takes its name from the Sri Ranganatha Swamy (Vishnu) Temple. Only 20km from Mysore, it can be seen on a day visit.