Various kinds of birds have always been a wonder to man. It is a pleasure to watch birds hop and chirp adorably. For centuries birds have been the symbols of love and hope. However, the changing environment and pollution has taken its toll on the bird population and governments all over the world are doing their best to preserve their lineage.
In Kerala, there are many sanctuaries dedicated to birds that form a safe zone for them. It is frequented by tourists and a walk through its forest gives us a chance to get a glimpse of a variety of bird species.
1. Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary:
Kumarakom bird sanctuary located in Kumarakom is an ornithologist’s paradise, the sanctuary is located on the banks of Vembanad Lake and is spread across 14 acres. It is a favourite haunt of migratory birds like the Siberian stork, egret, darter, heron and teal. The sanctuary is home to many migratory birds, some from Himalayas, some from as far as Siberia. The main attractions are local birds like the waterfowl, cuckoo, owl, egret, heron and the water duck, as well as the migratory Siberian cranes. Parrots, teal, larks, flycatchers, wood beetle, and other birds are seen here during their respective migratory seasons. The best time to bird watch is between June and August. To watch Migratory birds, November to February is the best time.
2. Thattekad Bird Sanctuary:
Salim Ali, the great ornithologist was a great admirer of this sanctuary and said that it is one of the richest habitats of peninsular India. Located near the Periyar River, Thatekkad Bird sanctuary expands over 25 square kilometres north of the river. The sanctuary has a vast variety of birds; both forest birds as well as water birds. The sanctuary is home for more than 500 different species of exotic birds as well as wildlife including include the Leopard, Sloth Bear and Porcupine
Pathiramanal, a small island on the backwaters of Alleppey, is a haven for hundreds of rare birds migrating from different parts of the world. You can reach there after one and half hours drive by motor boat or 30 minutes by speed boat from Alappuzha. One can see pintail ducks,common teal, night heron, cormorant, darter, Indian shag, purple heron, gulls, terns and large egrets. If lucky one can even spot the monarch flycatcher.
4. Mangalavanam Bird Sanctuary:
Mangalavanam Bird Sanctuary is an ecologically sensitive area situated at the centre of Kochi behind the Kerala High Court building and is rightly dubbed as the 'green lung of Kochi'. The best season to visit is mid January to early march. The area happens to a roosting place for exotic varieties of resident and migratory birds. Mangalavanam in fact, is a mangrove area consisting of a shallow lake in the middle, with its edges covered with thick mangrove vegetation.
5. Kadalundi Bird Sanctuary:
The Kadalundi Sanctuary is situated 19 kms from Kozhikode. The bird sanctuary is spread over an area of clustered islands, which is surrounded by little hammocks. Kadalundi River flows through this region and joins the Arabian Sea. This virgin land is the abode more than a hundred species of native birds and over 60 species of migratory birds, like seagulls, terns, sandpipers, sand plovers, red and greenshanks, turnstones that flock here in large numbers from November to April. Kadalundi is also known for a wide variety of fish, mussels and crabs. The mangrove vegetation here shelters otters and jackals.