Located about 400 km from Kolkata, Raiganj Wildlife Sanctuary situated in the state’s North Dinajpur district is home to over 160 species of birds and over 90,000 migratory birds that visit every year.
Also known as the Kulik Bird Sanctuary, this area is an extremely important heronry since it supports a major population of the Asian Openbill that exists in South Asia. It is known as Kulik because the river of the same name flows around the sanctuary acting as a boundary in the eastern and southern areas through a network of artificial canals.
If you know your trees and flowers, you'll be pleased to see species like kadam, jarul, sisoo (dalbergia sisoo) and eucalyptus. Picked so that the Asian Openbill and other migratory birds can flock the tropical dry deciduous forest during the hatching season, the tree canopy is something else.
You’ll find kites, flycatchers, owls, kingfishers, woodpeckers, drongoes and other resident birds at the sanctuary. The Asian Openbill storks usually begin nesting in June but if monsoons start early, the birds also come in early. Other migratory birds like egrets, pond herons, night herons and cormorants begin arriving mid-May. And if you are lucky enough, you might just catch a glimpse of the Asian Paradise Flycatcher and Indian Pitta. So, if you are planning a visit, then July to November is a good time.
Kulik is a haven for photographers, birdwatchers and wildlife enthusiasts. Book a stay at the Raiganj Tourist Lodge located close to the sanctuary and you might just get to see hundreds of open-billed storks flying around the trees, building nests or tending to their little ones inside the compound. You can also visit the Raiganj Kulik Park situated close to the sanctuary.