While humans can walk, run and swim, the one thing that fascinates us the most is flight. Which is why thousands of birders in the country spend countless hours studying and observing winged creatures and their behaviour. In addition to the capability of flight is the vivid colours and interesting habits. It doesn’t hurt that these winged creatures make magnificent muses for photography. If you are fascinated by birds, grab your binoculars and set out to these incredible bird-watching sites in India:
Mishmi Hills, Arunachal Pradesh
A canvas of white and green, Mishmi hills are situated at the Northeastern tip of Arunachal Pradesh. The hills are a diverse lot, ranging from the lush green plains and dense forests to the snow-capped mountains of the lower Himalayan ranges. Along with the variety of the topography comes a coloured package of birds. A birder’s paradise, this hills offer views of over 680 species of birds, including Sclater’s monal, fire-tailed myzornis, black-headed greenfinch and grey-headed bullfinch. Sub-tropical weather can be expected her from 5 degrees to 38 degrees celsius.
Keoladeo National Park, Rajasthan
For those whose interests do not end at birds, Keoladeo National Park in Rajasthan offer additional wildlife apart from the winged creatures. Also known as Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, the area is a man-made collection of wetlands, woodlands and grasslands. As one could imagine, the mosaic of terrain are home to a bunch of species- 366 bird species, 50 species of fish, 13 species of snakes, 7 amphibian species and 5 species of lizards. Among the 366 bird species are grey hornbills, painted storks, sarus cranes, open billed storks and cormorants. The area is away from the city, a quiet reserve ideal for bird-watching.
On first thought of birding in Odisha, Chilika Lake is an obvious priority. The large lagoon is home to thousands of birds and offer spectacular views. However, for a birder, the offbeat experiences hold a more enamouring memory than those commercially popular. Mangalajodi is one such location. Nestled on the northeast frontier of Chilika Lake, the hamlet is a haven for around 100 species of birds, including open billed storks, black tailed godwits and black winged stilts. After an unforgettable birding trip, you can also travel to the nearby village of Brahmandi potters to shop for the artisanal works of clay or visit the vivid Shiva temple.
Did you know a group of flamingoes is known as a flamboyance? Just the mention of the word works up a painted visual image of pink elegance. For those who wish to recreate this image in their memory, Bhigwan bird sanctuary is the ideal location. In magnificent amounts, flamingoes flock at the backwaters of the Ujaini Dam in Pune. Other birds to look out for are kingfishers, sandpipers, ruddy shelducks and pond herons. January and February are ideal months to spot birds. If you wish to make the most of your time, you can also opt for the night trails offered to view geckos, nightjars and Indian chameleons.
Thattekad Bird Sanctuary, Kerala
It seems like the God’s own country keeps on giving to those who visit. Nestled in Kerala’s Ernakulam district is Thattekad Bird Sanctuary, home to an impressive 250 species of birds. From crimson-backed sunbirds, nilgiri wood pigeon, black baza and Sri Lanka frogmouths to Malabar parakeet, Nilgiri flycatchers and white-bellied woodpeckers. Thattekad is the only bird sanctuary in the state but still provides a memorable experience attracting many birders to the sole site in Kerala. Photographers may especially find themselves particularly excited.
Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary, Uttarakhand
An impressive collection of 166 species of birds, Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary is a dense woodland with a rich plant diversity. You can commonly find the chukar partridge, koklass pheasant, brown wood owl, common hoopoe, black-rumped woodpecker and the great barbet. The temperate forest is lined with chir pine and oak trees, provided great habitats for the avifauna. The area is protected and an ideal location for birders to spot their favourite creatures.