The Uttar Pradesh forest department will provide a special opportunity for the public to enjoy birding and know more about wildlife through a statewide bird festival at three wetlands — Okhla, Surajpur and Dhanauri Kalan — from December 4-6.
Chief minister Akhilesh Yadav directed forest officials to organise functions at each of these sanctuaries to spread awareness about wildlife conservation.
“We will provide two guides at each wetland free of cost, from early morning to 2 pm. Two binoculars will also be provided from 6am to 2pm on December 4, the day of the inauguration. Birders bring along their own binoculars, but this facility will assist new bird watching enthusiasts, particularly children,” said KK Singh, divisional forest officer (DFO), Gautam Budh Nagar.
Noida’s Okhla bird sanctuary is spread across 400 hectares, while Greater Noida’s Surajpur wetland is spread across 330 hectares and the Dhanauri Kalan wetland has an area of 50 acres.
“We are expecting a good turnout for the bird festival. Sarus crane, UP’s state bird, is being spotted in good numbers at Dhanauri Kalan. Around 12 species of migratory birds from European countries are currently residing at the Okhla Park and 20 species in the Surajpur sanctuary. Our guides will share information about the birds with visitors,” Singh said.
The forest department has advised visitors to reach early in the morning at these three sanctuaries if they wanted to participate in the bird festival.
The northern shoveller, great flamingo, great white pelican, common coot, black headed gull, graylag goose, malard, pintale, garganey, pochards, wigeons, waders and the Eurasian wigeon are some of the birds that fly in from Siberia and Central Asia.
UP forest department is also inviting schoolchildren to take part in the bird festival at the Okhla sanctuary, where 30 species of migratory birds can be spotted during the winter.
“Several schools have contacted us and we hope that students will take part in the festival and learn about birds,” said IC Singh, ranger officer, forest department.