Vettangudi Bird Sanctuary

On May 31, 2017

More and more people are moving into the concrete jungles of the cities to find work and make a living. But moving away from nature comes at a cost; there is something about the vibrant green and blue shades of nature that beckon us and keeps our mind calm and at peace, but its absence keeps the mind lusting for some quality time amidst greenery and water bodies, and maybe some chirping of birds too….

A trip to the Vettangudi Bird Sanctuary near Thirupattur in the Sivaganga district of Tamil Nadu would get you both these luxuries of nature at its best – there are three water bodies, namely the Periya Kollukudi Patti, Chinna Kollukudi Patti and Vettangudi Patti that cover an area of 0.384 sq km and attracts numerous migratory birds as well as the indigenous Indian birds. This area was declared a protected area in 1977 and surrounding villages are not allowed to use firecrackers during Deepavali time as it would disturb the nesting birds. Other animals like monkeys are also kept away from this area as they are fond of stealing the bird eggs.

This small area of drainage basins attracts over 8,000 winter migratory birds annually; you will be able to spot at least 217 different species of birds, including some endangered species. It’s a bird-waters paradise as the vegetation isn’t too thick around here, just enough to create some level of privacy for the bird-watcher. You can spot birds from Europe and North Asian countries as they go about their daily courting and nesting rituals….a free lesson of nature. Watching the aggressive flamingos’ posture and pose as they try to attract a mate is a delight to witness too.

The best time to visit the bird sanctuary is from November to February; the weather here is also pleasant during this time and that’s when the migratory birds arrive here in their thousands too. It’s an awesome sight to watch the huge bird flocks rise up in unison and drop down again into the waters. The range of colors is mesmerizing. Within these months, the migratory birds rest and breed and fly away with their young ones back to where they came from again. It’s so rejuvenating to just sit back and relax with your family with a small picnic basket amid the natural greenery here and watch the birds go about their busy business of feeding and breeding.

The Vettangudi bird sanctuary is rich in both flora and fauna; the vegetation is mainly composed of Prosopis, Babul and Tamarind trees. These trees also make ideal nesting places for larger-sized birds like the Grey herons, Asian Open-billed Stork, White Ibis, Night Herons, Darters and Spoon bills. Other indigenous endangered bird species seen here include the Little Cormorant, Little Egret, Intermediate Egret, Cattle Egret, Painted Stork, Common Teal, Pintails, Spoonbills, Flamingos, etc.

Accommodation facilities for tourists are easily available in the nearby towns and cities of Karaikudi, Tirupathur and Madurai. Getting to the sanctuary is also easy as it’s located about 51km away from Madurai on the Madurai-melur-Tirupathur road. The nearest rail connection is at Karaikudi, about 32km away from the sanctuary and Madurai, 51km away. The nearest airport is in Madurai too.