Sandi Bird Sanctuary of Uttar Pradesh – History, Access, Topography, Geology, Hydrology, Flora, Wildlife and Restoration Plans

 Sandi Bird Sanctuary was labeled as a Ramsar Site on December 26, 2019. It is located 19 kilometers from Hardoi-Sandi Road in Sandi at Hardoi District of Uttar Pradesh. As a bird sanctuary, it is a facility where birds are brought to life and protected for the rest of their lives. Hence, Sandi Bird Sanctuary is a safe place for many migratory birds and plays a major role in the Ecosystem.   

History of the Place 

Sandi Bird Sanctuary was established in 1990. The government paid attention to the Sanctuary to protect the natural habitats around the place.  The ancient name of the Sandy Bird Sanctuary is Dahar Jeel. The word Jeel means lake.  

Garun Ganga, officially known as River Garra, passed near the Sandy Bird Sanctuary. Migratory birds rest on the river banks before reaching the Sandi Bird sanctuary. The migratory birds arriving at this place have their habitat in and around the river near the bird sanctuary. 

The Sanctuary provides aquatic vegetation for the residents and neighborhood area. On top of that, the place is a haven for migratory birds.  

Access to the Wetland 

Sandi Bird Sanctuary is located in the Hardoi district of Uttar Pradesh. Hardoi is 250 kilometers on the way from Delhi and Lucknow. It can be reached from Kanpur, Farukhabad, and Kannuauj.  

Sandi Bird Sanctuary is just 1 kilometer from Sandi village on Main Road, Nawabganj, near Sandi Police Station Hardoi.  

The best time to visit the Sanctuary is from December to February. The nearest railway station is at Hardoi (19 km). 

Topography of Area 

Sandi Bird sanctuary has an area of 3.09 hectares.  

The surrounding land was used for grazing cattle and cultivation. The migratory birds arrive at the Sanctuary at the beginning of winter in November. The average depth of the wetland is 1.5 m. It acquires its peak for habitat during January-February.  

Geology of Area 

It is situated between Latitude 26掳53″N to 27掳46″N and Longitude 79掳41″E to 80掳46″E. The surrounding land was used for grazing cattle and cultivation.  

Hydrology of the Land 

Sandi Bird Sanctuary has a climate with a maximum temperature of 48掳C and a minimum of 4掳C.  

This Sanctuary generally experiences good rainfall. Three years (2009-2011) data showed that average annual rainfall in this area was 685 mm. The wetland is typical of the Indo-Gangetic plains and receives most of its water from monsoon rains. The monsoon starts in July and ends in September.  

River Garra, formerly known as Garun Ganga, passes near the Sanctuary. This place also gets water from the Dahar Jeel, passing the Sanctuary. 

Flora Found 

Sandi Bird Sanctuary is home to numerous birds, reptiles, and wild animals. Dahar Lake strengthens this Sanctuary’s flora and fauna and gives shelter to innumerable migratory birds. 

The common trees around the area are Bamboo, Neem, Jamun, Manual, and Khajur. This Sanctuary retains all essential characteristics of an ideal waterbird habitat, such as proper depth for waders, dabblers, diverse vegetation, surrounding agriculture fields, etc. 

Food availability and an undisturbed ambiance attract birds evenly. Common Teal, Common Coot, Garganey, Northern Pintail, and Little Egret could be seen here in good numbers. 

Wildlife Around 

Sandi Bird Sanctuary provides a valuable environment for waterfowl, with over 40,000 counted in 2018. It is home to around 1% of the South Asian populations of the following birds. 

 Common teal (Anas crecca), Red-crested pochard (Netta Rufina), Ferruginous duck (Aythya nyroca), and also for the vulnerable Sarus crane (Grus Antigone). These have a population of 200 individuals within the Sanctuary. 

In the past, the local community saw the rare Siberian White Crane Grus Leucogeranus. 

Some of the birds residing in Sandi Lake are as follows: 

  • Egrets – Milky White birds with yellowish-orange bills and black legs. 
  • Black Drongo – This bird has glossy blue-black or green-black plumage, with semi-translucent primaries visible in flight 
  • Saras Crane – A grey-colored bird that has a contrasting red head and upper neck. 
  • Cattle Egrets – A white bird with a yellow bill and black legs. 

At the onset of the summer season till March, the migratory birds gradually return to their native places. The animals around the lake are Fox, Jackal, Nilgai, Mongoose, and Indian Porcupine. 

Islands in the Lake 

The government authorities of Uttar Pradesh have not reported any information about islands around this lake area. 

Economic Evaluation of the Lake’s Resources 

The wetland is a popular recreational and tourism destination. This Bird Sanctuary supports surrounding farmers as a source of livestock fodder. 

This place is also rich in aquatic plants. 

Several ducks, geese and swans, and some resident aquatic birds consume vegetative materials like root, shoot, foliage, fruits, and seeds produced by the emergent, submerged, and floating plants in the wetlands are used as medicine. 

Deterioration of the Lake Environment 

According to a study based on bio-monitoring in July, the lake was suffering from water scarcity. Due to scarcity, the entire lake area of Sandi Bird Sanctuary is reduced to a small pool of 1.0 to 1.25 meters in depth with a marshy area around.  

The Sandi Bird Sanctuary was used to cultivate cattle, which slightly affected the place. Climate change also drastically changed the traditional structure of the lake.  

Drought is the biggest threat to the Sanctuary. The Sanctuary continuously gets dried out, leading to a subsequent collapse in waterbird populations from 2014 to 2015. 

Restoration Plans 

This Sanctuary has been listed as “important biodiversity by the holiday nature oral history society. The Office of the Conservator of Forests manages the site with local forest and wildlife officers.  

Sandi Bird Sanctuary started to support small reptiles, including Red Sanda Bon, Wolf Snake, Russel’s Viper. The biodiversity of SBS holds a lot of potential in terms of conservation. It harbors huge biodiversity of invertebrates and vertebrates, especially in birds.  

It is suggested that food plants removal must be done judiciously to keep the bird load in the wetland. Otherwise, birds may get diverted to the neighboring agriculture field, affecting the crop’s productivity adversely, or they might stop landing in the wetland in the future.