Bird Watching in Jalpaiguri
If ornithology is your passion you must take a trip to Jalpaiguri. The whole district offers a tremendous scope for bird watching. The town itself is home to different species of birds. However, to get a more rewarding experience, one has to step out of the locality. You will find plenty of them within a radius of ten kilo meter.
Birds spotted inside Jalpaiguri town
Although Jalpaiguri is a crowded town with all the hustles and bustles of city life, if you have eyes to see and ears to hear you will be able to spot plenty of birds. Hoopoes, Common Mynas, Common Ioras, Common Hawk Cuckoos, Common Tailor Birds, Sun Birds, Green Bee Eaters, Rufus Treepies, Scarlet Backed Flower Pecker, Brown Shrikes, Drongos, different species of owls etc can easily be spotted inside the town, especially in areas, which still retain some greenery.
Bird watching along the Teesta embankmentIf you are aware of the geography of Jalpaiguri you should know that two important rivers flowing by this town are River Teesta and River Karala. Since both these rivers overflow during the monsoon a long embankment has been built along their banks so as to protect the township from recurring floods. Today this embankment has become a bird watchers’ paradise, especially in winter.
Among the resident birds frequenting this area are the kingfishers and cormorants. They mainly survive on small fishes and other aquatic creatures. Consequently, they can easily be spotted in the vicinity of different water bodies of the town including the river banks.
In winter the area becomes a den for the migratory birds. Winged creatures from as far as Siberia come to spend the winter on the banks of River Teesta. Rudy Shelduck, famously known as Chokha in local language, is one such bird. These birds always live in pairs; this has inspired many a great poets to write many a great poetries. It is said that the first couplet, created by sage Valmiki of Ramayana fame, was inspired by a female Shelduck’s wailing over the sudden death of her mate.
An early morning walk along the embankment offers a truly inspiring sight. One can watch the birds flapping their wings, rising in the air, diving into water, swimming about merrily across the river.
Barn Swallow, Grey Wagtail, Brown Shrike, Common Sandpiper, Bar Headed Goose, Greenish Warbler, Blue Rock Thrush are some other migratory birds spotted in and around Jalpiguri.
Bird watching around Jalpiguri
There are plenty of places to go if you decide to venture out of the town for bird watching. Domohani Jheel, located at a distance of 10 km from Jalpaiguri is one such place. It is actually a wet land covering an area of 15 KM (approximately). The Forest Department has planted different types of trees on one side of it and numerous shrubs and herbs have grown on their own in rest of the place. Consequently, the area has become a favorite haunt of different species of birds.
Other than that, the town has many reserved forests located within its vicinity. Chapramari, Lataguri, Gorumara etc are some such places. Different species of birds are sighted in these locations. However, you will need permission to visit most of these places. For that, you can contact the Divisional Forest Officer at the following details:
Divisional Forest Officer
Wild life Division II
Old Court Campus
Office Phone No: 03561-24907
Tea gardens around the town are also good place to visit if you love bird watching. However, for that it is always better to ask for permission from the relevant authorities. If you on the other hand, do not want to get into such hassles, just walk around armed with a pair of binoculars, notebook and pencil. You will find them on the road side, in the fields, near the rivers and ponds. Birds are everywhere - Asian Open Bill, Crested Serpent Eagle, Oriental Turtle Dove, Blue Throated Barbet, White Wagtail, Golden Fronted Leaf Bird, different species of Plovers, Parakeets, Flycatchers, Thrushes and Drongos are just some of them.
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