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| Last Updated:: 26/02/2018

Fifth Uttarakhand Spring Bird Festival to Be Held At Two Locations in State from March 9 To 11











The fifth Uttarakhand Spring Bird Festival will be held at two locations in the State from March 9 to 11. Various events will be held as part of the programme at Thano reserved forest area in Dehradun district and the Jhilmil Jheel conservation reserve in Haridwar district. 



According to information provided by the forest department, the fifth Uttarakhand spring bird festival aimed at uniting birds, birdwatchers and communities will provide an opportunity for birdwatching in Thano and Jhilmil Jheel to birdwatchers and the general public. 



Thano reserved forest is located east of Dehradun city and considered to be an incredible birdwatching location on the outskirts of the Doon Valley. Set amidst Sal forest, surrounded by scrub, agricultural fields, crisscrossed by numerous jungle trails, Thano is a haven for birdwatchers and nature lovers with a preliminary bird checklist exceeding 175 bird species. With altitudes varying from 600 metres up to 1,200 metres, the area offers an opportunity to bird in Sal forests in the lower elevation and mixed broadleaved forests of the lower Himalayas, as one ascends.



Some of the birding highlights of Thano include Oriental Pied Hornbill, Red-billed Leiothrix, White-browed Scimitar Babbler and various woodpeckers, among other species. The Jhilmil Jheel conservation reserve is located 20 kilometres from Haridwar, on the banks of the Ganga. It has moist mixed deciduous forest, large strands of Eucalyptus plantations, grasslands, scrub and riverine habitat. Apart from a good location for wetland birds, it is the only location in Uttarakhand where the Barasingha (swamp deer) can be seen. The preliminary bird checklist for Jhilmil Jheel exceeds 225 species. Some of the birding highlights here include forest species like woodpeckers, flycatchers and owls.



On the banks of the Ganga, sightings of larks such as Sand Lark, Oriental Skylark, Eurasian Skylark and the Ashy-crowned Finch-lark and numerous waders including sandpipers and plovers can also be had. The riverine terrain is also suited for raptors. 



Uttarakhand has considerable wealth of avi-fauna with a reported bird list of 710 species representing more than half of all bird species found in India. As bird tourism holds promise for both conservation and livelihood generation in remote areas of the State, the Uttarakhand birdwatching programme was launched in 2012 to promote bird tourism. Under this programme, more than 35 bird watching camps have been conducted so far with more than 650 forest staff, nature guides and students having benefitted from these camps. The Uttarakhand Spring Bird Festival is also part of this programme. 



The purpose of the festival is to improve the profile of Uttarakhand as a crucial state in India for bird conservation and as a birdwatching destination as well as to popularize lesser-known destinations like Thano reserved forest and Jhilmil Jheel conservation reserve. 



Officials state that the bird festival will help to scale up bird awareness, birdwatching activity and benefits through bird tourism and ecotourism. The festival will also seek to build on the partnerships and investments of the Uttarakhand birdwatching programme. The event is also aimed at increasing awareness about birds and bird tourism, its ongoing and potential benefits for bird conservation and community-based livelihoods through ecotourism. It aims at creating an opportunity for networking of bird tour operators and rural tourism practitioners, local community members including home stay owners and guides, tourism industry and planners for sharing knowledge and collaboration. The three-day event will start on the morning of March 9 and conclude on the evening of March 11. Various activities will be held as part of the festival. 



These include birdwatching camp to orient guides and birdwatchers, guided birdwatching for birdwatchers and public, separate guided birdwatching for schools and institutions, Thano heritage walk, photography workshop, talks and film shows, livelihoods and entrepreneurship workshop involving local communities. The three-day event is expected to attract about 1,500 participants, according to the department officials.









Source: The Pioneer