In the ongoing process to make Mirik a major tourism destination in the hills, enthusiasts have identified bird watching as another key attraction for tourism in the hills. According to Himalayan Bird Watching Society, Mirik is a perfect location to find many species of Himalayan birds due to its undisturbed wilderness which is conducive for bird habitat.
HBWS coordinator Suren Subba informed there are about 300 different species of bird that are found in the Mirik region, but his society has only been able to record citing of about 150 species. He said some of these birds are migratory, while others are residential birds. “It is important to work on the conservation of these birds and the best way to do that is promoting it through tourism and spreading the knowledge about their conservation,” he added.
Subba said the bird habitat in the region has been hampered by increasing population, environmental degradation, climate change, and especially the extensive development of high-tension towers and cell phone towers. Currently, Mirik is home to various species of birds which are endangered, including Water Crake, Laughing Thrush, Hill Maina, Red Head Barbet, White Checked Bulbul, Bhaditor Fly Catcher, Blood Pheasant, Satyr Trogopan, Himalayan Monal, Plain Type Cuckoo and Black Headed Shrike. He also said Mirik is home to the rare Sun Bird, but the lack of support from concerned department and the government has led to reduction in number of these birds.
Subba urged the GTA to look into the issue and include bird watching as another means to promote tourism in the region. “The initiative will not only help tourism, but also boost the efforts to conserve the birds and their habitat in Mirik, along with an option for youths to have another means of income as tour guides and bird specialists,” he added.
001: Satyr Trogopan.
002: Himalayan Bulbul.
003: Himalayan Monal.
004: Blood Pheasant.