Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Bird’s Eye View



Nestled in the lap of nature, Karnataka’s Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary is the ideal destination for both, amateur and seasoned bird watchers. Bird watching is a hobby and also a passion for some. Dr. Salim Ali, the famous ornithologist, had said, “Man does not live by bread alone. Just look at the people who have no hobbies and spend all their time solely in earning a living. After fifty when they retire from official chair-warming, they don’t know what to do with all the time in their hands and just spend it watching the clock! If they cultivated a hobby like bird watching – it is very healthy because you have to be out of doors to watch birds – they would have lived longer to enjoy their pension.”

There is much that one can do amidst the serene settings of the sanctuary – take long walks in the verdant surroundings, go for boat rides or coracle rides, pursue bird watching or simply do nothing but listen to the wind rustling through bamboo shoots! The peaceful settings are complemented by the absence of crowds – no raised voices, no loud music and hence no disturbance to the natural habitat of these birds. Birds are seemingly unafraid and felt safe here, allowing us to view them at close quarters. In fact, at such proximity, one doesn’t even need binoculars to observe the birds, although a pair would certainly aid in getting finer details such as the plumage on the neck, the colour of the legs, and the shape of the beak – all useful inputs in identifying a bird species.

The ambience is filled with characteristic sounds of the birds chirping and the young ones seeking food, and we also noticed a few adults dedicated to just protecting territory. On the other hand, the slightly grown-up birds, soon to embark on their maiden flight, were busy training themselves in stretching and flapping wings.

A visit to Ranganathittu is a highly recommended antidote to the stress the inevitably develops as a part of corporate life. Only a seeking spirit, and if possible, some beginner’s book on bird-watching is needed. For a bird lover, there is incredible pleasure in being able to identify birds on your own and it is possible to pursue bird watching in modules; even a single day spent at a bird sanctuary reveals the vast treasures of the avian world. If hooked, one would return again and again to get deeper into the subject. If not, one would simply draw the benefits of the relaxing ambience and feel recharged.

Fact File

Getting There

By air – Jet Airways has daily flights to Bengaluru – the closest major airport from various parts of the country.
By rail: The nearest railway station, Mysore, is 18 km away from the sanctuary.
By road: The sanctuary is on the Bengaluru-Mysore highway. KSRTC buses ply from Bengaluru to Mysore every 15-20 minutes, taking 3 hrs to reach.

Accommodation

There are a few riverside cottages available near the sanctuary. One can also choose to stay in Mysore.

Tags - Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary in Karnataka, Famous Bird Sanctuary in Karnataka, Bird Sanctuaries in India

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