There is good news for birdwatchers. The Uttarakhand government has notified two state forest ranges as Naina Devi Bird Conservation Reserve (NDBCR).
It is the fourth conservation reserve in the state, which has two wetland reserves — Asan and Jhilmil for migratory birds and another at Pawalgarh for bird species.
Officials said the step would not only help conserve rare birds but also boost bird tourism in the state.
The Naina conservation reserve is a prospective site for Himalayan Quail too, which is on a critically endangered species of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Wildlife experts claim that the species was last reported in 1870s.
The reserve is spread across 120sqkm based in two forest ranges of Nainital-Naina and Kosi.
Paramjit Singh, chief conservator of forest (CCF) Kumaon division, said, “A protected area is always an advantage. Though it’s a bird conservation reserve, yet one can spot tigers and leopards too. Its biodiversity is extremely rich.”
Himalayan Quail, which went extinct about 60 years before Independence, was reportedly sighted in 1870. It has its prospective sites in Vinayak and Kunja Kharak area of the reserve. “The reserve has prospective sites of Himalayan Quail which is extinct now. We hope to spot the bird soon through better conservation strategy,” chief wildlife warden Digvijay Singh Khati said.
The step will also help protection of Cheer pheasants, which are widely hunted for sport, food, trade and eggs are listed as threatened species.
The typical temperate oak forest species like wedge tailed green pigeons, warblers, and laughing thrush can only be saved through the conservation step, officials said.
Eco-tourism wing of Uttarakhand forest department has been organising Spring Bird Festival since 2014 to promote bird tourism in state,
The first festival (2014) was held at Asan Conservation Reserve followed by second (2015) in Pawalgarh Conservation Reserve.
A lot of migratory birds visit the Naini forest ranges during the winter, drawing a number of birdwatchers to Uttarakhand.