National Bird Watching Day attracts large crowds in Ramnagar

Ramnagar (Uttrakhand), Nov. 12 (ANI): Nature enthusiasts and students gathered at a barrage on the river Kosi in north India, observing migratory birds on the occasion of National Bird Watching Day, celebrated to mark the 116th birth anniversary of renowned biologist Salim Ali.

Armed with binoculars, notebooks, field guides and cameras, they stood at the edge of the reservoir, making a note of the resident and migratory species present at the site.

The bird watchers said that it was important to educate people about the importance of conserving the country's diverse fauna.

"We brought a few children who study in a local school, so that they can make themselves aware of bird life. The message for the people of the country and people in the world is that we must keep (these birds) alive, so that we learn about them and protect them," said a birder, Rohit Sati.

The waters of the reservoir had large numbers of Ruddy Shelducks and cormorants swimming, feeding and sunning themselves.

The reservoir at Ramnagar is close to India's iconic Jim Corbett National Park, which is home to over 500 species of birds, a sizeable chunk of more than 1200 species found all over the country.

Winter sees many species of birds migrate from north and central Asia and other, colder parts of the world, as the birds breed and live in the more temperate climate of the Indian subcontinent.

The Director of the Rainbow Wildlife Awareness organisation, Rajesh Bhatt said that the reservoir itself played host to over 200 species of resident and migratory birds.

"The important birds here are the Ruddy Shelduck, the Ibisbill, wallcreeper, cormorant, garganey, pintail, Bar-headed Goose, which can be seen easily," Bhatt said.

Born in 1896, Salim Ali, known as 'the Bird Man of India', made his name as one of the first Indian naturalists to conduct systematic surveys on birds. His field guides are used by many birdwatchers when they set out in pursuit of the hobby.

Ali, who died in 1987, is also credited with the creation and recognition of such biodiversity hubs as the Keoladeo National park in Rajasthan and the Silent Valley National park in Kerala. (ANI)