Thattekad, the first Bird Sanctuary in Kerala harbours a wide range of flora and fauna and is a paradise for bird watchers and Nature lovers. Dr. Salim Ali, the legendary ‘Bird Man of India’, during his survey in 1933, noted the bird diversity of Thattekkad as the richest bird habitat he had ever seen. Later in 1983 the area was declared as a Sanctuary with an extent of 25.16 sq. km. About 284 species of birds have been recorded from the Sanctuary.
History: Dr. Salim Ali, born on 12th November 1896 was a genius created by nature. He is the father of Ornithology in South East Asia. He was the first Indian who started scientific study in Ornithology. During his one year long Travancore- Cochin bird survey he had spent 13 days at Thattekkad from 2nd to 13th February 1983. The book “Birds of Kerala” was brought out as a result of this survey.
The terrain is undulating and elevation changes from 35m to 528m above sea level. The two tall peaks are the Njayappillimudy (523m) and the Thoppimudy (488m). Climate is tropical and humid with temperature varying from 20o C to 30o C and an average rainfall of 3000mm.
The vegetation types met within the Sanctuary consist of Tropical wet evergreen, Semi evergreen, Moist deciduous, Riperian forest and Plantations. Thattekkad is on the foot hills of Westren Ghats and is connected with a large ecological unit comprising of Malayatoor, Sholayar, Parambikkulam hill ranges on the one side and Munnar, Eravikulam and Chinnar on the other side which supports diverse vegetation types from evergreen to Scrub jungles which enables the birds in their seasonal migration.
728 species of plants, 284 species of birds, 222 species of butterflies, 52 species of fishes, 39 species of mammals, 36 species of reptiles, 17 species of amphibians are recorded from the Sanctuary.
Although Thattekkad is famous for its Ceylon Frogmouth, all major mammals found in Western Ghats including Tiger, Leopard, Elephant, Sloth bear, Wild dog, Sambar deer etc. are seen in the Sanctuary.
FACILITIES AVAILABLE FOR VISITORS IN THE SANCTUARY
Salim Ali Nature Trail: A guided bird watching trip on the Salim Ali Nature Trail. One experienced guide will accompany the visitors in to the forest along the trail. 1.30 hours on a 2.4 km trail. Timings-7am, 7.30 am, 9am, 9.30am, 2 pm, 2.30pm, 4pm, 4.30pm.
Visit to Salim Ali Interpretation Centre: A place where you get deep and scientific information about the Sanctuary, its bird diversity, evolution, bird anatomy, bird migration and so on. The mysteries of evolution of avifauna and other life systems and their sustainability are discussed and interpreted here.
Visit to Medicinal Plants Garden & Nursery: A garden for conservation and promotion of indigenous medicinal plants. Local names and scientific names are displayed for easy identification by the visitors. Seedlings of certain medicinal plants will also be made available to the visitors.
Orchiderium Cum Fern House: One would love to visit a wonderful collection of indigenous orchids and ferns. Local names and scientific names will be displayed in the interest of students, researchers and other visitors.
Butterfly Garden: An effort to support the flying flowers in our premises. A good collection of host plants and nectar plants nurtur here invite butterflies and birds. It is a place for interpretation as well.
Animal Rehabilitation Centre: A place for keeping injured animals and birds where they are given medical treatment and veterinary care. After recovery, the y will be released into the natural habitat.
Eco Shop: Souvenirs and keepsakes like books, brochures, magazines, caps, T-shirts etc. are sold to visitors here. Buying one thing will contribute something to the welfare of Forests as well as the Forest dependant community.
Oottupura ( Cafeteria): Offers you Tea, coffee, meals, ice cream and other light refreshments.