Those who have experienced Delhi winters will agree – it is nothing less than a feat to get up 6.00 am in the morning and visit a water body with swooshing trees and tall grass all around. What made our adventure a little more maddening was the fact that it was planned on a Sunday, a day when clinging to the blanket was acceptable. And yet, discarding the warmth of the blanket and braving the biting cold were just little discomforts for us, when the magic of migration revealed itself in its full glory at the Okhla Bird sanctuary.

The Okhla Sanctuary is a city birder’s paradise. It is also a decent entry level option for someone who has just begun to appreciate the beauty and immense variety of birds. The sanctuary is not difficult to traverse, is suitably located within city limits (see below for details) and is teeming with migratory birds this time of the year, giving everyone a chance to spot foreign visitors as well as native avian.

According to official figure some 309 species of birds visit the Sancturay. Like an oasis in the desert, the barrage is bound by highways, flyovers, multistories, power plants and industries from all sides. Nevertheless its existence ensures that birds flying from miles away can rest a while or spend their winter here, in the national capital region before moving back to their homeland during summers.

At different times of day and at different locations, varied birds can be spotted here. Click the slideshow to see some of the birds we saw,

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How to reach Okhla Bird Sanctuary

Sandwiched between Delhi and Noida, if you are coming from Delhi, take the Kalindi Kunj route. From Noida, either take the Noida-greater Noida expressway or the Dadri road.

You can take your car/ bike inside. The fee is Rs. 50/- for the car and Rs. 30/- per person.

Tips –

  • Wear comfortable shoes as there is much walking involved, sometimes even on wobbly leaf mounds above the water.
  • Carry a pair of binoculours. The migratory birds are mostly sitting at the central part of the lake where visitors can’t go.
  • Avoid wearing bright coloured clothes.
  • Carry plenty of water and snacks.
  • Silence is golden, if you do not wish the birds to shy away.

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About Atula Gupta

Atula Gupta is the Founder and Editor of Her work has appeared in a number of international websites, dailies and magazines including The Wire, Deccan Herald, New Indian Express, Down to Earth and Heritage India on issues related to environment and its conservation. She is also the author of Environment Science Essentials, a set of books for school children. She hopes this website provides a platform for people to be aware about species in the verge of extinction and heighten their conservation efforts.

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