Photo Credit: NiF Hive – Nature inFocus
There are quite a few birding spots around Bangalore. Kabini is one of the more interior ones, a part of the sprawling Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. The combination of thick jungles and a large riverine network makes this reserve home to a diverse set of species. From waterfowl to raptors, you will encounter many feathered wonders in the tall canopies and the wetlands of Kabini.
The silence in Kabini is heavy, interspersed with shrill sounds of the birds and the occasional primate calls. The birds provide a constant background – a reminder to the visitor that this is a faraway land, primaeval in nature and where humans rarely tread. Kabini’s calm environs, the rippling waters and the green cool shades provide a perfect stage for those who love their natural escapades.
The waters of the river and surrounding wetlands are prime property for birds. The white-bellied woodpecker is one many are familiar with, the unending hammering of its beak a signal that it is on the hunt. Herons are another common sight as they prowl the waters for insects, small fish and other aquatic species.
If you are looking for migratory birds in Bangalore or around, Kabini has its share of international visitors. Winter is the best time to catch these seasonal species. Some of the popular ones are grey wagtails and barn swallows.
Birding in Kabini is not restricted to the riverside. Further inland, there is a drastic change in the kind of birds one sees. You may run into wild peacocks and there is no dearth of raptors. Keen photographers are always on the lookout for an eagle or a hawk on a hunt, a glorious sight as it swoops on unsuspecting prey. Some of the hunters commonly seen in Kabini are the Brahminy Kite, the osprey, the peregrine falcon – one of the fastest birds on earth, and the grey-headed fish eagle.

Extra Birding Tips

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When you are going bird watching in the forests of Kabini with a camera, carry extra batteries. Arm yourself with a pair of binoculars for better sighting and be ready for early morning starts. Also remember, bird watching is a quiet affair as you need to be fully alert to the sounds of the forest. You also do not want to be a distraction to the other birders in the group. Other safari etiquettes also apply – no strong perfumes and stick to a neutral-coloured wardrobe. Another important mantra for any nature activity – leave the forest clean. Even the smallest plastic wrapper is pollution.
You can browse through the best resorts in Kabini for a wonderful and immersive birding experience. Make sure you confirm that the establishments provide the facilities or guides for bird watching. Those who do not have the time for a long trip need not worry. A short stay at Nandi Hills will lead to many encounters with the feathered kind. You can also find resorts in Kanakapura Road, known for its verdant landscapes – another thriving birding area.