Delhi’s has so many beautiful birds. What they are, where they hang out and where they flock when they’re injured is the today’s blog topic.
There’s big birds, little birds, colourful birds and bland birds. I’ve no idea what most of them are, but it’s time to get stuck and start finding out more about Delhi’s bird life..
Here’s big five bird facts to get readers started and some places for great birding in and around Delhi.
There’s an awful lot of birds to spot in India
There are over 1,300 different birds species living across the subcontinent. Of these, 141 are endemic; which means they are found no-where else in the world. Delhi is also home to The Northern India Bird Network, a community of Delhiites that share information about birds and bird life in the capital. Get in touch with them via their Yahoo groups page.
Delhi is really rich in bird life.
More than 450 bird species have been recorded in and around Delhi, which makes the city the second richest world capital for bird life. Nairobi, Kenya, takes the top spot. The fine folk at The Northern India Bird Network have pulled together a species guide and a blog called Birds in Delhi is also a handy resource. The Collins Field Guide: Birds of India, priced at a 699 INR is a bargain.
Delhi’s state bird is Passer Domesticus
Every Indian state and national territory has its own state bird Delhi’s is Passer Domesticus. Sounds impressive, no?
Well, Passer Domesticus is the Latin name for the humble house sparrow. Andrea Pradesh has the Great Hornbill, Gujarat the Greater Flamingo, whilst West Bengal has the White-breasted Kingfisher. We’ve got the sparrow. I suppose it’s small. And cute.
Delhi is a holiday destination for our feathered friends,
Delhi is a stopover point for hundreds of migratory birds as they travel to and from the Himalayan range and beyond. Winter and spring is the time for many of our feather friends to chill out and take a rest. Other birds call in during the summer migration.
Delhi is home to a bird hospital
Digambar Jain Lal Mandir, built in 1656 and directly opposite the Red Fort at the end of Chandni Chowk, houses a unique medical centre for birds.
The Birds’ Charity Hospital has wards for different bird species, a research laboratory and an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for seriously injured patients. It’s said to be the only one of its type in the world.
Birding in the capital
Here’s a brief run down of birding sites in and around the capital that I’ve been checking out.
The Delhi Ridge: This reserved forested is known as the lungs of Delhi and protects the city from the sandstorms from Rajasthan. It’s also one of the reasons why Delhi is blessed with so many birds. The ridge runs from the south east of the city at Tughlaqabad and tapers off near Wazirabad, on the banks of the Yamuna river.
Parks and Gardens: Delhi’s parks and gardens are a great place to go birding, enjoy some green space and get away from the car horns. The jewel in the crown is Lodhi Gardens with the Garden of Five Senses and Buddha Jayanti Park offering pleasant alternatives.
Asola Wildlife Sanctuary: A large expanse of dry scrub forest at the tail end of the Delhi ridge, Asola Wildlife Sancturary covers 26 square kilometres.
BNHS-India, a pan-India wildlife research organization that’s been promoting nature conservation since 1883, runs the community based Conservation Education Centre with regular walks taking place throughout the year.
Okhla Bird Sanctuary: This four square kilometre site is located at the entrance to Noida where the River Yamuna enters the state of Utter Pradesh. More than 270 species of bird have been recorded, with the best time to visit being from November to March.
Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary: This National Park in Haryana is an artificial wetland about 50 kilometres from Delhi. The winter months are best with migratory species from Europe, Siberia and Central Asia boosting the species count to 320. There are 180 resident species. For more information head to the Haryana State Government website.
And finally, Delhi Zoo may initially seem like a strange suggestion, but with its open spaces and pools the zoo is an attractive proposition for wild birds. Waterfowl and the Common Kingfisher can be spotted alongside the Zoo’s resident bird life.
It’s time for me to pack my binoculars and head down to the park.