Spotting of Sarus Cranes in Himachal Pradesh

Posted by: Somesh Goyal, IPS on

Hi Folks!
I was travelling on work to inspect one of my Battalions located in Jungalberri some 12 km from Sujanpur in Hamirpur district in Himachal Pradesh.
This short journey was most rewarding in the last few days as we saw a dozen Ruddy Shelducks in the Beas river at Sujanpur. Theirsighting has never been reported from Sujanpur before.

 As we reached near the village of Jungalberri, I let out a shout of joy seeing 3 Sarus cranes (Grus antigone) including one immature foraging happily in the fields some 20 yards from the road. It is second sighting of these cranes in Himachal after Una/Nangal. It was so reassuring to see wonderful coexistence between human beings and the birds. The cranes foraged unafraid of the human presence some 10 yards away.

 Sarus cranes are among the vulnerable species with numbers hovering around 10,000 in India. The iconic crane has grey body with a contrasting red neck and head. This almost 6 foot tall bird is the largest known flying bird of our times. This gentle giant is known for marital virtue as it is believed to maintain a lifelong marital relationship and is rarely seen alone. Like tigers, these cranes fiercely guard their territory. They breed during monsoons and the clutch has generally one or two eggs weighing about 250 gram each. Sarus is native of the Indian subcontinent, South Asia and Australia. In India, this crane is considered sacred by several tribes and people who virtually worship the bird for its lifelong relationship with its partner.

 Between the cranes and the road was a small chchappad hosting some Pond
Herons, a pair of egrets and a White Throated kingfisher.

Also saw a Black Redstart and an Alexandrine parakeet at the fort besides several other birds which i could not shoot.