Places of interest around Mysore
Ranganthitu Bird Sanctuary
Text & Photographs by Lalitha Venkat
Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary, in Karnataka, is situated on an island formed as a result of the Kaveri River splitting into two, and strewn with a large number of boulders. Situated on the banks of the Kaveri River, it includes a group of six islets. Ranganathittu attained the status of a bird sanctuary in 1940, thanks to the visions of India’s noted ornithologist Dr. Salim Ali, who, during his survey of the birds of Mysore, advocated the establishment of such a sanctuary. There is a paved path lined with tall, thick bamboo with boards on either side giving information about birds that are spotted at Ranganathittu.

An astonishing variety of exotic birds come from as far away as Siberia, Australia, North America, Middle East, Egypt, China, Africa, Europe and many other places. Spoonbills, Open Bill Storks, Painted Storks, White Ibis, Snake bird / Darter, Little Egret, Cattle Egret, Grey Heron, Pond Heron, Purple Heron, Night Heron, River Tern and Indian Whiskered Tern, Cranes, Pelicans, Cormorant, Stone Plover, varieties of wild ducks and partridges are some of the visitors. Local inhabitants like kingfishers and peacocks are also found. Crocodiles can be spotted basking under the sun. The migratory birds begin arriving in the sanctuary in December every year, lay eggs and breed, move out of the sanctuary with their little ones in August, only to return again the following year.

The best way to see the birds is by taking a boat ride, preferable early morning or late evening. The oarsmen take the tourists for a ride along the river and the islets (not visible from the banks) and point out the birds as well as give information. The little boats can get quite close to the islands where the trees are covered with birds of different species, but not close enough to disturb the birds.

Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary lies on the Bangalore-Mysore highway and can be accessed from both the cities. Private taxis are the most convenient mode of transport.

From Mysore: 18 kms

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