West Bengal boasts of a rich biodiversity and cultural heritage. As a bird lover or someone who craves to be close to nature, you will find several bird sanctuaries in the state that you can explore.
These sanctuaries offer a safe haven for both local and migratory birds, as well as a great opportunity for birdwatchers to enjoy their hobby. They also offer a glimpse into the fascinating world of nature.
In this article, you will get to know about the following bird sanctuaries in West Bengal,
- Raiganj Bird and Wildlife Sanctuary
- Bethuadahari Wildlife Sanctuary
- Purbasthali Bird Sanctuary
- Santragachi Jheel Pakhiralay
- Jore Pokhir Wildlife Sanctuary
- Narendrapur Wildlife Sanctuary
Let’s see each of these in detail.
1. Raiganj Bird and Wildlife Sanctuary
Raiganj Bird and Wildlife Sanctuary, also known as Kulik Bird Sanctuary, is one of India’s top five wildlife sanctuaries. It was established in 1985 near Raiganj town in Uttar Dinajpur district of West Bengal. This place covers an area of 1.30 sq. kilometers and is the second-largest bird sanctuary in Asia.
In the year 1970, the area started to get developed and various species of trees were planted which comes under the tropical dry deciduous forest. From that period of time, the sanctuary started to come to life.
The sanctuary is home to 164 species of resident birds and welcomes around 90000 to 100000 migratory birds every year, especially during the breeding season. Some of the birds seen here are Asian open bills, egrets, cormorants, herons, storks, woodpeckers, drongos, flycatchers, etc.
Observing birds in their natural habitat is an experience at a whole new level. The way they live in the wilderness, and their breeding, are all very fascinating.
The sanctuary also has a rich diversity of plants that add to its beauty. Many tourists visit the sanctuary to enjoy the sight and sound of the birds and to experience nature away from their busy daily life.
2. Bethuadahari Wildlife Sanctuary
The Bethuadahari Wildlife Sanctuary is a small but rich natural reserve in Nadia district, West Bengal. Established in 1980, it covers 0.67 sq. kilometers of the central Gangetic alluvial zone, which is highly diverse and ecologically important. The place is adjacent to a lovely deer park which is famed for its beauty.
The sanctuary has two nature trails named after famous naturalists: Salim Ali and Brandis. These trails let you explore the diverse flora and fauna of the sanctuary. You can see tall grasses, Sisso trees, teak, and hair plants, as well as many animals such as jackals, civet cats, porcupines, chitals, mongooses, and kraits.
Bethuadahari Wildlife Sanctuary is also home to about 50 species of birds, including parakeets, barbets, Indian cuckoos, and other colorful small birds. If you love nature and wildlife, you will enjoy walking through the forest and observing its wonders.
3. Purbasthali Bird Sanctuary
Purbasthali is a bird lover’s paradise, located in the Purba Bardhaman district of West Bengal. It consists of a group of islets and an oxbow lake, known as ‘Chupi char,’ formed by the rivers Bhagirathi and Hooghly.
During the winter season, the sanctuary attracts more than 100 species of birds, both local and migratory. You can spot them while strolling or boating in the crystalline waters of the lake.
Some of the migratory birds that you can spot are lesser whistling teals, common coots, purple moorhens, red-crested pochards, little grebes, osprey eagles, bronzed-winged jacanas, and more. The local birds include kingfishers, cattle egrets, little swallows, billed storks, and many other colorful species.
The sanctuary is a beautiful place to enjoy the views of the rivers, lakes, landscapes, and flora, as well as the sounds of the birds filling the air. It’s a fun place to relax and reconnect with nature.
You can know more about the place in the article: Purbasthali (West Bengal) – Location, Chupi Char, Bird Watching
4. Santragachi Jheel Pakhiralay
Surrounded by a vast lake of over 1375000 sq. feet, the bird sanctuary is located near the Santragachi railway station in the Howrah district of West Bengal.
Santragachi Jheel Pakhiralay attracts a huge number of migratory birds, especially during the winter months, creating a spectacle of avian diversity. The highest number of birds recorded at the lake was 7000, but this record has been broken in recent years.
Some of the migratory birds that visit the sanctuary are swinhoe’s snipe, comb duck, fulvous whistling duck, common gadwall, northern pintail, ferruginous pochard, garganey, and cotton pygmy goose. They find this place a suitable habitat in the winter due to the mild weather.
This bird sanctuary at Satragachi is a tranquil and delightful place for bird lovers. You can bring your camera and binoculars and enjoy spotting different species of birds, each with its own beauty.
5. Jore Pokhir Wildlife Sanctuary
Jorepokhri is a scenic place situated in the Darjeeling district. Being at a higher altitude than the other bird sanctuaries, it is a habitat for some of the flora and fauna of the hilly areas.
This place is named after the two lakes or twin lakes (Jorepokhri is a Nepali word meaning twin lakes) that lie in its heart.
Jore Pokhir Wildlife Sanctuary is about 20 kilometers from Darjeeling town and offers a glimpse of the wild beauty of the region. It covers an area of 9.88 acres and has a large snake model in the center of the lake. The lake is surrounded by lush vegetation and wildlife.
One of the rare creatures that live here is the Himalayan Salamander, which is endangered and needs the pure alpine environment to survive. You can also see monkeys, various mammals, and reptiles, and of course, a variety of birds.
The sanctuary is home to both local and migratory birds, and you can watch them fly or swim with their young ones as you walk along the pristine lake.
From the sanctuary, you can enjoy the stunning view of the snow-capped mountains and the horizon through the trees.
6. Narendrapur Wildlife Sanctuary
|District||South 24 Parganas|
Also known as Chintamani Kar Bird Sanctuary, Narendrapur wildlife sanctuary is a former orchard plantation that has been transformed into a haven for birds, butterflies, and other wildlife. Located in the South 24 Parganas district of West Bengal, the sanctuary covers about 17 acres of land rich in flora and fauna.
The forest trails are lined with coconut palms, mango trees, ferns, and various fruit trees, creating a green oasis away from the city’s hustle and bustle.
As you walk through the natural beauty, you can spot orioles, paradise flycatchers, bronzed drongos, shikras, scaly-breasted munias, Asian green bee-eaters, and many other colorful birds flying freely in the wild.
The sanctuary is a true delight and joy for nature lovers who seek a peaceful escape near Kolkata after a hectic week at work.
These are some famous bird sanctuaries in West Bengal that you must visit. Here you can witness the beauty and diversity of these winged wonders.
Birds are fascinating creatures that can captivate anyone who ventures into the wild. Don’t miss the chance to explore these hidden gems away from the urban jungles.
And yes, a camera is a must if you want to click some pictures like a pro!
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