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| Last Updated:: 18/03/2015

Coming up Festival of feathers

 Nature enthusiasts can enjoy a three-day getaway at the first Bird Festival to be held at the Ranganthittu Bird Sanctuary

Forty five per cent of the bird species found in India belong to Karnataka. That includes 521 bird species. So, it's time that we celebrate them. In a first of its kind initiative in South India, the state Karnataka Eco Tourism development board and the Karnataka Forest Department (Wildlife Wing) is organising the Karnataka Bird Festival to be held between March 27 and 29. 

A similar festival was previously held in Uttarakhand and Gujarat. But the Karnataka Bird Festival will be a first for South India. "The state not only has a large population of native birds but also a large number of migratory ones," says Rohit Varma, member of the advisory committee of the Festival. 

There are anywhere between 5,000 and 10,000 bird watchers and photographers who specialise in bird photography in the city. "Bengaluru is known to be the city with the maximum number of nature enthusiasts and wildlife photographers. For instance, when I go to Kabini and Bandipur, the place is full, which shows the number who are interested," Varma says.

The festival will be held at the Ranganthittu Bird Sanctuary. Varma says though the venue of the festival is a considerable distance from the city, it was a deliberate choice. "We wanted to promote Karnataka as a birding destination. Besides attracting nature enthusiasts, photographers, bird-watchers, policy makers and forest officers, we're also looking forward to having students and members of nature clubs present." 
The festival will include a bird photo exhibition; talks and presentations by renowned ornithologists and naturalists including Bikram Grewal, Sumit Sen, Ramki Sreenivasan, and Sudhir Shivram; workshops on bird photography; a bird race (avid birders go around spotting birds) and bird tours (newbie birders are taught the nuances of bird-watching), bird quiz for children and young adults; and guided bird-watching walks. Around 1000 people are expected to participate in the festival. 
"The state has already achieved the distinction of having the highest population of both tigers and elephants in the country. We thought now is the time to shine the spotlight on birds — through this festival," says Vinay Luthra, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) and Chief Wildlife Warden.


Creating awareness

Apart from raising the profile of Karnataka as a bird-watching destination and a paradise for birders, the festival hopes to raise awareness about bird conservation and its importance among nature enthusiasts, policy makers and general public. It will also provide a platform for renowned ornithologists, experts, forest officers and bird photographers to highlight issues pertaining to the subject. This in turn, believe the organisers, will provide the right stimulation and influence the policy makers and forest officers to focus on bird conservation. Entry fee for the festival is Rs 1000, which includes lunch and tea. Accommodation not provided. For more details visit