The Kathmandu Valley boasts well over 400 species of recorded bird species and provides an unbelievable range of habitats for the birds that reside, migrate or pass through.
In spite of rapid urbanization and the human degradation of habitats in the Kathmandu Valley and its surroundings, that these beautiful feathered friends are able to reside and migrate from so far, is very fortunate for the keen birders and ornithologists here. Godawari and Phulchauki hill, Shivapuri and Nagarjun national parks, Sundarijal and Tau Dah Lake are among some of the best birdwatching venues in and around Kathmandu. Tau Dah, located on the way to Pharping to the south of the city, is a great place particularly for wintering waterfowls and other water birds. Birds as far as Siberia travel to this lake and are seen for a few months before they fly back. The birds usually seen here are Ruddy Shelduck, Great Cormorant, Common Coot, Gadwall and many other beautiful species.
Godawari, Phulchauki hill and Shivapuri national park host many species including several rare and endangered species. Some of birds that are seen here include the Grey Treepie, Blue-throated Barbet, Striated Laughing Thrush, Nepal Fulveta and others.
Birdwatching is very popular among locals as well as international visitors. It is an exhilarating experience to be surrounded by nature with birds all around. Besides Bird Conservation Nepal (BCN: www.birdlifenepal.org), Friendsofbird or FoB (www.friendsofbird.net) organizes regular birdwatching trips to these popular sites and many other places. FoB is a forum created by some keen birders and nature lovers in Nepal. It is where one can join the regular weekend birdwatching and monitoring activities, sharing information of bird sightings especially in the Kathmandu Valley. Over the last ten years since FoB was formed, there has been a big increase in the number of birdwatchers and nature lovers and this has contributed to the rising membership of BCN, the one and only national bird NGO that has been working actively for birds and bird conservation in Nepal. FoB encourages anyone of any age or group to participate in its regular birdwatching activity and support the organizations that are dedicated to the education and conservation of birds that are severely threatened for their survival due to the destructive nature of we human beings. FoB is very much involved in creating awareness among people to encourage them to support bird conservation and welcomes people to be part of this great enterprise that will help enable our future generations to enjoy this great gift of nature.
It is difficult to imagine a world without birds. Let’s enjoy the birds in their free flight and give them a chance if only for our future generations.
FoB organizes an annual BIRD Hike every year on the first Saturday of the year in January as well as birdwatching tours out of Kathmandu especially to Chitwan and Koshi. Interested people, bird lovers and nature lovers are encouraged to join our regular birdwatching trips and support the organizations working for the conservation of birds by taking annual or life membership. To know the regular/weekend birdwatching, please check FoB’s Facebook page or have a look at the website www.friendofbird.net or www.birdlifenepal.org.
By: Vimal Thapa