Colourful chirping birds can make anyone happy. You might not be a birding enthusiast but you will fall in love when you visit these places. Here are the best places for birdwatching in India.
Keoladeo Ghana National Park, Rajasthan
Formerly known as Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, Keoladeo National Park is considered as one of the top birding destinations in the world. With approximately 400 species of countless birds, it is one of the top ten places in India if you would like to engage in a birding watching tour. Whether you look left or right, the national park has birds galore. The diversity of waders, geese, ducks and storks makes it a vital birding hotspot. Keoladeo is open all year round, although a third of it is often submerged during the monsoon season. There are well-defined trails inside the park. It’s possible to walk, ride bicycles, or take a cycle rickshaw or boat (when the water level is high). You would enjoy your day slowly drifting under green canopies, and listening to soothing bird calls. If that doesn’t put your mind in a state of absolute bliss, we don’t know what will.
When to Visit: August to November for resident breeding birds and November to March for migrant birds.
How to Reach: The nearest airport is situated at Agra, which is 56kms from Bharatpur. Delhi is 184kms from Bharatpur. Regular rail services connect Bharatpur with all the major cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Jaipur and Agra. The Bharatpur railway station is about 5 kms from the park/bird sanctuary. Bharatpur is also well connected by road from Agra, Delhi and Jaipur.
Chilka Lake Bird Sanctuary, Odisha
Located in Odisha, Chikla is Asia’s biggest internal salt-water pond. Studded with few tiny islands, the pear shaped Lake extends diagonally 1,100 sq-kms area and has an exceptional ecology with a variety of aquatic flora and fauna, established in and around the lake’s salty waters. Bird watchers keep coming back to this loved destination as it is home to some of the most unique species like sea eagles, greylag geese, and purple moorhen. Chilka proudly hosts the world’s largest breeding colonies of flamingos as well. You can take a boat cruise to explore the sanctuary.
When to Visit: Mid December to February
How to Reach: The nearest airport is Bhubaneswar located at 120 km away from where taxis, trains and buses are available towards the lake. Bhubaneshwar and Puri stations are ideal to take the trains from various cities of India. One can also arrive by road to Chilka Lake from various parts of Orissa.
Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary, Kerala
Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary that lies on the northern bank of river Periyar is considered to be one of the most diverse regions of forest in Ernakulam District, Kerala in Southern India. The place was specially recognized by the bird man of India:- Dr. Salim Ali, who explored the length and breadth in search of different species of birds, both resident and migratory. Thattekad is also otherwise known as “Salim Ali Bird sanctuary” because of his extensive work towards avian fraternity and his contribution in making Thattekad as a bird sanctuary. The sanctuary is home to an impressive 250 species of birds. You will find crimson-backed sunbirds, nilgiri wood pigeon, black baza and Sri Lanka frogmouths to Malabar parakeet, Nilgiri flycatchers and white-bellied woodpeckers. Unlike most parks in India, the birds are in the forest, rather than the water. You can spot them by going on a two to three hour trek along a nature trail.
When to Visit: November to February.
How to Reach: The nearest airport is Kochi International Airport which is about 60 kilometres away. Thattekad does not have a railway station, and the nearest one is located at Aluva which is 47 kilometres away. The place is connected to the rest of the country by roads, and there are regular buses and taxis available from all nearby cities like Kochi, Madurai, Alappuzha and Thrissur.
Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary, Uttarakhand
Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary, perched on top of the Jhandi Dhar hills lies in the heart of Kumaon region of Uttarakhand. It is a picturesque and quiet destination that boasts of rich natural surroundings and dense forests. Binsar is a paradise for bird watchers. It was declared a vital birding area by BirdLife International. The sanctuary is famous for more than 250 species of birds including forktail, magpies, woodpeckers, monal, eagles, Jays, nuthatches, parakeets, Kalij pheasant, etc.
When to Visit: October to February.
How to Reach: The nearest airport to Binsar is the Pantnagar Airport located 152 km away from the city center. Kathgodam Railway Station is the nearest railway station to Binsar located at a distance of 119 km from the city center. Binsar is well connected to major towns in Uttarakhand and cities in northern India via well maintained motorable roads.
Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary, Karnataka
Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary is a reservoir comprising of a series of islands and islets on the banks of the river Cauvery. After the dams were created on the river, a catchment area was also created that resulted in many beautiful birds making this place their home. Take a ranger-guided boat tour along the river to spot the many migratory birds (and crocodiles!). Alternatively, it’s possible to walk through a section of the park.
When to Visit: January to March. Peak nesting time is February.
How to Reach: Mysore Airport is the closest Airport (25 Kms). You can also catch a train till Mysore Railway Station (16 km). One can drive from Bengaluru to Ranganathitthu which is 131 Kms.