Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary is in the Mandya District of the state of Karnataka in India. It occupies only 0.67 km² in area, and comprises of six islets on the banks of the Kaveri river. Ranganthittu is located near the historic town of Srirangapatna.
History of the Park : The islets came into being when a dam across the Kaveri River was built in the 1700s. The ornithologist Dr. Salim Ali observed that the isles formed an important nesting ground for birds, and persuaded the Wodeyar kings of Mysore to declare the area a wildlife sanctuary in 1940.
Natural History of the Park
Biome : Most of the park falls under the Riparian biome, corresponding to the Indo-Malaya eco zone.
Flora : Terminalia arjun (Arjun tree), bamboo groves, and Pandanus trees are the main species. The islands are covered in broadleaf forests. Riverine reed beds cover the banks of the islands. The endemic and lily Iphigenia mysorensis of the family Colchicaceae grows in the sanctuary. Eucalyptus and Acacia trees are planted in abundance, which might lead to long-term eradication of native species.
Fauna : The islands host numerous mammals and migratory birds. Some of them are Bonnet Macaque, colonies of Flying Fox and common small mammals like Indian Gray Mongoose, the monitor lizard and Civet. The Marsh Crocodile also called the Mugger Crocodile is a common inhabitant of the riverine reed beds. Migratory water birds include Painted Stork, Asian Open bill Stork, Common Spoonbill, Woolly-necked Stork, Black-headed Ibis, White Ibis, Lesser Whistling Duck, Indian Shag, Stork-billed Kingfisher and other common birds like egrets, cormorants, Oriental Darter, and herons. The Great Stone Plover and River Tern also nest here. It is home to a large flock of Streak-throated Swallows.
Activities : Ranger-guided boat tours of the isles are available throughout the day, and are a good way to watch birds, crocodiles, otters and bats. There is no lodging at the tiny sanctuary, so visitors typically have to stay over at Mysore or Srirangapatna. The seasons for visiting the park are: June – November (during the nesting season of the water birds). The best time to watch migratory birds is usually December but it can vary year to year. They visit these islets from Siberia, Australia and even North America.