Located on the banks of the Vembanad lake, the Kumarakom bird sanctuary (also known as Vembanad bird sanctuary) is spread across 14 acres. Set in the lake backwaters, the bird sanctuary is an ornithologist's paradise and a favourite haunt of migratory birds like the Siberian stork, egret, darter, heron and teal.
Developed in a rubber plantation by the Englishman Alfred George Baker, who reclaimed this wonderland, the sanctuary was formerly known as Baker's Estate. On the southern banks of the Kavanar river, it has well laid out paths for moving around within the sanctuary. Beyond the sanctuary, one can take a boat ride in Vembanad lake or along the Kavanar river. Neighbouring areas such as Kaipuzha Muttu, Pathiramanal, Narakathara, Thollayiram Kayal and Poothapandi Kayal are also good locations for spotting birds.
The main attractions are birds like the water fowl, cuckoo, owl, egret, night herons, cormorant, moorhen, darter, brahminy kite, golden - backed woodpeckers, kingfishers and water duck. As an added attaction, siberian crane, parrots, teal, lark, fly catchers, wood beatle and other birds are seen here during their respective migratory seasons. Some of the migratory birds come from the far away Himalayas and a few from as far as Siberia.
Dawn is the ideal time for bird watching, when the birds prepare to leave their forest homes and fly over the lake. An early morning trek well before sunrise, is recommended for avid bird watchers.
Houseboats, motor boats and canoes are available on hire for bird watching cruises on the lake. The best period to watch birds is between June and August. To watch migratory birds, the best time is from November to February.
Places nearby : There is a driftwood museum at Chakranpadi. Pathiramanal, an enchanting island on the lake, is approachable by boat. And more than all, the imaginary 'Aymanam' of Arundhathi Roy's novel ' The God Of Small Things ' is set in the area.