Chintamoni Kar Bird Sanctuary: lush greenery and chirping of birds in the southern tip of Kolkata

Bird sanctuaries inside cities are hard to come by. But in the southern tip of Kolkata, amidst green spaces, orchards and forested lands, scantly populated roads, clusters of houses, the Chintamoni Kar Bird Sanctuary is one such rare find.

Under the Rajpur-Sonarpur Municipality, it is technically in South 24 Parganas district. Opened in 2005 after it was bought from private owners by the government, the sanctuary is also referred to as Kayaler Bagan.


Once you enter its premises, it looks like an absolutely alien world of 17 acres of lush green foliage, not too far from the maddening city. It might even feel like venturing into a forest if you are brave enough to take narrow paths amidst the not so tame looking garden.

In fact, for those without experience in bird-watching, visiting the place only out of curiosity, it would take immense courage to tread the slippery forested paths with all sorts of unknown insects buzzing around.  A lot of perseverance is required to spot birds hidden inside the thick foliage of leaves, hanging roots, climbers, magnificently tall creepers, wild unknown shrubberies and flower plants. And once you overcome the initial fear, the wilderness is pretty bewitching.

There are thousands of different bird calls, continuously, for all the hours one decides to spend inside. There are pits in the shape of pools filled with hyacinth leaves with sunlight filtering through every space making beautiful light and shadow green chambers. And all throughout, chirpings ranging from squeaky trebles to throaty reverberations fill the air.

Various types of woodpeckers surround every part of the sanctuary. Usually, fewer birds can be sighted in the dull monsoon gloom. The peak months of summer are the best time for bird sighting here though few winter immigrants like wagtails or minivets can be seen.  Rose-ringed parakeets (parrots or tiya pakhi), fantails, doves, orange- headed thrushes, koels, brown fish owls, black drongos are all local inhabitants of the area. If lucky enough, the fantail can be seen taking a bath in the miniature pools created within the sanctuary.

One could see a huge Brahmani kite perched on one of the tallest trees of the sanctuary. There were two drongos seated peacefully on a branch after venturing a little ahead into the leafy pathways. Another scared big red and black bird hastily took flight on hearing footsteps and hid itself behind a dense cluster of branches.


If it is a sunny day outside and you are quite in the mood to enjoy a slice of the wild near home, or enjoy the buzz of crickets under the bright light of the day, the Chintamoni Bird Sanctuary is the best place to visit.

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