Winter season in India sees thousands of migratory birds (in search of favorable living habitats) flocking to this subcontinent and calling it home (away from home). Delhi, the nation’s capital, is one of the popular wintering grounds in India for migratory birds. Delhi’s rich wealth of wetlands, national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, and the green cover of the Aravalli ranges act as a perfect host for these migratory birds visiting India. Delhi not only welcomes hordes of these beautiful winged creatures during winter, but also umpteen birdwatching enthusiasts who never fail to say ‘hi’ to their favorite species on Earth! If you are a birder, pack your gear and fly to Delhi because it’s time for birdwatching!
Okhla Bird Sanctuary:
Okhla Bird Sanctuary, officially known as Shaheed Chander Azad Sanctuary, is perhaps the most popular bird sanctuary near Delhi. The distinctive natural features of this sanctuary, such as the rich forest cover, wetlands, grasslands, and a pristine lake, make it a haven for more than 320 species, including water birds, woodland species, and migratory birds. Besides Baikal teal, Baer’s Pochard, Indian skimmer, Finn’s weaver, Palla’s fish eagle, black-bellied tern, you can also see critically endangered bird species like White-rumped Vulture, Sarus Crane, Sociable Lapwing, and Bristled Grassbird.
Location: Gautam Buddh Nagar District, Noida.
Open hours: 7.00 am to 5.30 pm
Yamuna Biodiversity Park:
Sprawling across an area of 457 acres on the western banks of the Yamuna River near Wazirabad Village, Yamuna Biodiversity Park is composed of wetland, grassland, and a forest area, and is home to several native species of flora and fauna, besides a number of avian lives. If you are visiting this protected area during the winter season, you’re likely to spot a great number of migratory birds, including red-crested pochards, shovelers, gadwalls, lithe cormorants, pintails, painted storks, and darters.
Location: Main Jagatpur Rd, Wazirabad, New Delhi.
Open hours: 9.00 am to 5.00 pm
The wetlands of Surajpur act host to hordes of migratory birds, come winter! It is one of the popular birdwatching spots near Delhi. The green environs and the sight of a large number of beautiful birds are what birders need to snap them from their monotonous routine. There’s also a natural trail developed by the forest authorities to encourage nature walks. One can spot a great variety of birds, such as red-crested pochard, bar-headed goose, painted stork, wooly-necked stork, open-billed stork, Bengal Florian, northern pintail, golden oriole, pheasant tailed jacana, herons, egrets, etc.
Location: Greater Noida.
Open hours: 8.00 am to 7.00 pm
Asola Bhatti Sanctuary:
Asola Bhatti Sanctuary is situated next to Tughlakabad Fort towards the southern end of the Delhi Ridge. The vast expanse of dry shrub forests, where lions, leopards, and chinkara used to dwell, is now home to over 80 species of butterflies and 190 species of birds, and the number only increases with the coming of migratory birds in winter. Take a guided tour of this beautiful sanctuary and greet its many birds, butterflies, reptiles, and mammals. You may spot a pallid harrier, a little cormorant, yellow-eyed babblers, Orphean warbler, rufous-fronted Prinia, northern shovelers, and mammals like nilgai, jackal, the jungle cat, red-headed vulture, among others.
Open hours: 9.00 am to 5.00 pm
Aravalli Biodiversity Park:
Located in the lush Aravalli Hills, Aravalli Biodiversity Park is an ecologically-restored forest that houses 190 species of birds, 90 species of butterflies, 24 species of reptiles, and 300 species of plants, including several medicinal plants, in its 153 hectares of land. The idea behind this park is to encourage environmental conservation and make this earth more life-friendly.
Aravalli Biodiversity Park boasts many natural trails and a native plant nursery, and it also offers educational trips for youngsters. Diverse birds such as common babbler, Indian peafowl, long-billed pipit, black drongo, Indian bush lark, silverbill, red vented bulbul, steppe eagle, white-eared bulbul, and wildlife like nilgai, golden jackal, Indian hare, common palm civet, Indian gray mongoose, among others have been recorded here!
Location: Vasant Vihar, New Delhi.
Open hours: 5.30 am to 11.00 am