Vellode Bird SanctuaryLocated on the banks of the Cauvery River, the historic city of Erode is located at the heart of the South Indian Peninsula, about 418 km away from the southern metropolis of Chennai (via NH45) and about 99.6 km away from the industrial hub of Coimbatore (via NH47). Erode is one among the most frequented tourist destinations in the southern state of Tamil Nadu as the region is dotted with a wide range of tourist attractions like age-old religious sites, museums, monuments and so on.
Among the popular tourist attractions of Erode, Vellode Bird Sanctuary occupies a prime position as the nature reserve receives hundreds of thousands local, national and international visitors, throughout the year. The exclusive bird sanctuary in the region, Vellore Bird Sanctuary comes under the management of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India. It is important to mention that the Vellode Bird Sanctuary is one of the sixteen bird sanctuaries that come under the official 'List of Protected Areas of Tamil Nadu'. Let's get to know more about this must-visit bird sanctuary of Erode.
Location of Vellode Bird Sanctuary
A landmark of Erode, the Vellode Bird Sanctuary is located just 16.7 km away from the Erode Central Bus Terminus (main bus stand serving the urban center of Erode) en route to Chennimalai (popularly known as 'Handloom Town'). The aviary can be easily accessed from Chennimalai highway. The bird sanctuary is 14.9 km away from the Erode Junction railway station (via Erode-Chennimalai Road).
Situated in the Vadamugam Vellode village, it is significant to be well aware that the bird sanctuary lies on the fringes of the Erode city. Public and private transport options are available in abundance to reach the bird sanctuary from most of the surrounding villages, towns and from Erode city. Along the Erode-Chennimalai route from Mettupalayam, a diversion from the main road in the north for duration of a few minutes leads the visitors to the sanctuary.
Geographic Features of Vellode Bird Sanctuary
Vellode Birds Sanctuary in Erode sprawls over a total area of 77.185 ha (190.72 acre). The nature reserve comprises of 75.935 ha (187.63 acre) of Periyakulam lake (yeri) and 1.250 ha (3.088 acre) of poramboke odai lands of the Vadamugam Vellode village or simply Vellode village. Contrary to other bird sanctuaries in the state, Vellode Bird Sanctuary is centered on a tank and there are no woodlands in the vicinity.
Flora and Fauna of Vellode Bird Sanctuary
Founded in the year 1996, this unique bird sanctuary is basically a water storage tank and there are no notable forests in the location. The primary flora of the Vellode Bird Sanctuary comprises of Acacia nilotica plantation (Babul or Babool in our national language). Some of the other noticeable flora here include Azadirachta indica (neem tree/Veppa maram), Palmyra (Borassus/panai maram) and eucalyptus tree (karpoora thaila maram/nilagiri thaila maram) all along the embankment and lush growth of Prosopis juliflora (seemai karuvelam).
The bird sanctuary is visited by a multitude of nonmigratory and migratory birds. Generally, the migratory birds start to arrive to the reserve at the commencement of the Northeast monsoon (period October to December). At the onset of the monsoon, the bird sanctuary turn a perfect home ground for the winged visitors mainly because the handiness of abundant bird food in the lake and in the nearby farming fields and a great deal of trees for resting and nesting. The presence of abundant fish species are also a part of bird food for the migratory and resident birds.
A delight to the bird watchers and nature lovers, the Vellode Bird Sanctuary receive winged visitors from as far away as Antartica. Every year, lakhs of winged visitors come to this reserve from all over the world, rest here for almost four months, lay eggs and sit on them until they hatch. A little more than hundred varieties of winged visitors come to this sanctuary every year.
Some of the rare, common and easily identified resident and migratory birds of the Vellode Bird Sanctuary include great white pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus) also known as Eastern white pelican, White pelican or Rosy pelican, Little stint (Calidris minuta), Cattle egret (Bubulcus ibis), House sparrow aka English sparrow (Passer domesticus), Black-crowned night heron (Nycticorax nycticorax), Temminck's stint or Calidris temminckii, Little cormorant (Microcarbo niger), Pelican, Garganey (Anas querquedula), Snakebird (darter), Eurasian teal or common teal (Anas crecca), Pin-tailed duck or northern pintail (Anas acuta) and so on.
Role of the Surrounding Villages in the Upkeep of the Vellode Bird Sanctuary
There are almost eight villages surrounding this sanctuary and the good-hearted people of these villages gave up celebrating the festival of lights - Diwali for the sake of the birds. For more than 15 successive years, the entire population of the surrounding villages of this sanctuary are saying 'no' to bursting crackers as it might frighten away the birds from the reserve. What is more, on the festival day of Diwali, people from the surrounding villages, don new clothes, offer prayers, relish the festival delicacies and visit the sanctuary and offer grains to the winged visitors and aquatic animals.
Quick Facts:Location: Vellode Bird Sanctuary, Vadamugam Vellode, Tamil Nadu 638112
Geographic Coordinates: 11°15'9"N 77°39'8"E
Area of the Bird Sanctuary: 77.185 ha
Governing Body: Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India
Flora: Acacia nilotica plantation
Fauna: Multitude of nonmigratory and migratory birds
Best Time to Visit: November to February
Entry Fee: Rs. 10 for adults and Rs. 1 per head for student groups
Accommodation Facilities: Plenty of lodges, hotels and other accommodation options are available in Erode
Visitors can take the help of the sanctuary staff and ask for binoculars
For More Information:
District Forest Officer
Roja Nagar, Erode - 4
Phone Number: 0424-2291722
Nearest Bus Stand: Erode Central Bus Terminus - 16.7 km
Nearest Railway Station: Erode Junction Railway Station (Station Code: ED) - 14.9 km
Nearest Airport: Coimbatore International Airport (IATA: CJB, ICAO: VOCB) - 81.5 km