Kokkare Bellur - Where vibrant winged visitors beckon...

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Paying a visit to a bird sanctuary and watching multihued avian beauties is something everyone would enjoy. Passing by tranquil lanes reverberating with soothing chirps and twitters of birds further adds to the beauty of touring through a sanctuary. But sanctuaries that act as bird terminals

to be visited only during a select few hours for a certain amount of fee are apart; wouldn't it be wonderful to visit a place where you can not just watch them set all free but also have the very beauties perch on your shoulders and enjoy co-existing with humans?

Here is one such beautiful place that shows off a wonderful co- existence between humans and nature. Kokkare Bellur, a little hamlet in Mandya district on the Bangalore-Mysore highway is a bewitching place that would interest all those who love tranquility and birds.

Unlike the regular bird sanctuaries, this is no place with a nature park dedicated to birds but is a small village which pelicans and Painted strokes have literally made their home. The residents of the town looking after the birds with utmost care and the birds too responding to their moves positively is what adds to the beauty of this town, which is named after the very pelicans that are called 'Kokkare' in Kannada.

 Be there at the right time and spot the birdies in hoards!

The months from November to June are the best times to visit Kokkare Bellur when one can find about a 1,000 pelicans and over 2,500 painted strokes.

The place though not exactly a tourist spot remains abuzz with tourists during February and March, according to secretary of Mysore Armature Naturalists (MAN) and founder of the NGO Hejjarle Balaga (Pelican Clan) Manu K. Says he, “while the bonding between humans and pelicans is the beauty of this place, the villagers who consider these pelicans lucky provide for them in every way from feeding them with fish caught in near by water bodies to treating the injured hatchlings that fall off the trees.”

“I have been associated with the place and the endangered species visiting the hamlet from1994 and have been constantly working towards protecting the birds as well as this nestling site ever since,” he asserts, adding, “the place has now grown quite popular and is one among the few spot bill pelican nestling sites in India. However, our only concern are the tourists whom we believe should understand not to behave and indulge in unruly activities which would drive away the birds from the place and entertain other birds to take away 'yet-to-hatch' eggs of these endangered aviators.”

Apart from pelicans, birds like ibis, egrets and night herons also take shelter at Kokkare Bellur during the peak season.

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