The Romance Sanctuary of Characters of Mahua Maji’s Novel– “Marang Goda Neelkanth Hua” the Saranda Forest of Jharkhand is also an undeclared Bird Sanctuary of Numerous native and Migratory Bird Species.
Unncontrolled mining and blasting activities, combing operations of the police and activities of Naxalites have forced the bird population to dwindle in different parts of the forest as per reports from Ornithologists.
A group of Bird Watchers led by Saranda Divisional Forest Officer (D.F.O.) H.S.Gupta is undertaking a survey to locate and identify various bird species inhabiting Saranda forest areas.
The Bird Watchers started their Bird Survey in March 2020 to keep an inventory of different Bird Species inhabiting Saranda.
The survey is to be completed up to March 2021. During this period of Preliminary Survey the Bird Watchers will try to determine the number of birds to keep an inventory of the forest.
The local tribal people report that the number of white storks and also of the other birds is dwindling since last few years. No attempts are ever being made to conserve the number of bird species in the forest- they report. The local tribal people worship white storks during their regular Sarna worship. They believe that White Storks bring rains.
The Saranda forest with 7 hills has inhabited more than 250 rare and endangered species of birds including leaf birds, Malabar Pied Horn Bill, Green Beaked Tits,Open Billed Storcks,Bulbuls, mainas, wood peckers, Teetars, Koyels, Small Beaked Kites, owls, wild sparrows, toucan, Fly Catchers etc.
Saranda the Largest Sal forest of Asia is being planned to make a Bird Sanctuary. With this idea in mind the local forest Department is willing to list all the birds inhabiting the forest.
About one hundred years ago the survey or the census of birds in Saranda forests was done by authorities at that time.
Now the state forest department has planned to conduct a census of birds that inhabit or visit the area.
About the Leaf Bird, one of the bird watchers said,” it resembled leaves of different colours. The speciality of the Leaf Bird is that one would find it difficult to spot it even though it is at an arm’s length. Leaf Birds bring out melodious tunes. It is an enchanting experience to encounter a Leaf Bird,” he said.
The endangered species of birds in the region are open-beak Stork and the Vultures. “Fortunately, Saranda is abundant with these two types of birds. We will undertake a study later to ascertain the reasons behind why these endangered species are flourishing in the forest,” said the bird watcher.
About the open-beak Stork, a birdwatcher said- it belongs to stork family. It has a gap in the middle part of the beak, which is generally not found in other species of storks. “The open-beak storks feed on snails and different kinds of insects in the water,” he said.
There has been no special management for promoting population of birds in different forest divisions. The bird species are not getting attention like other wildlife. And lack of proper management is the saga of dwindling migratory population in various parts of forest-reports a local News Paper.