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      January 2012 > Flying Visit to Rajasthan

Flying Visit to Rajasthan

Demoiselle Cranes in RajasthanIt’s one of the world’s greatest bird spectacles – the sight of hundreds of thousands of streamlined demoiselle cranes gliding down to land in the villages of the Thar Desert in Rajasthan after an epic flight over the Himalayas. This is part of their annual migration and there is a very special reason why they now choose to land here. Food.

Not wild food, but food that has been put out by the locals for decades in specially created fenced compounds (chugga ghars) with the precise aim of enticing these elegant birds to stay. In fact, this practice has been going on for so long – at no little expense to the villagers – that the cranes, or Kuraj, as they are known locally, have now changed their migration route to visit the area, and many have even decided to spend their winters here rather than flying further south to their traditional feeding grounds. Take a holiday in Rajasthan, India between November and February to witness this remarkable event.

RSPB BirdwatchWhy mention this now? Well, for one, this feeding frenzy featured on Earthflight on BBC 1 last night (Thursday 26 January). Incredible camera work followed the cranes over the mountains – go to BBC i-player and fast-forward to 52mins 20secs to see the birds finally arrive in Rajasthan. Amazing to think that these graceful birds arrive every year in the backyards of villages like Khichan. Which brings me to reason number two.

The RSPB want you to record the birds that appear in your back garden over an hour this weekend, 28 and 29 January. The Big Garden Birdwatch may bring some surprising results, though I’m not expecting to see a wayward demoiselle crane on my lawn…

Posted: 27/01/2012 10:31:33 by | with 0 comments
Filed under: India, media, wildlife

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