Danapur Cantonment - An Ornithologist's Delight


Situated on the outskirt of Patna, Danapur Cantonment has a very special distinction of being a special place for the migratory birds. It is also the second oldest cantonment in the country, whose roots goes back to the colonial era. Every year during the month of June-July, thousands of migratory birds descends here after traveling thousands of miles for breeding. They stay here till November-December. During their retreat timing, it offers a wonderful view with the young ones getting ready with their parents for a long journey back to their home land.

The cantonment area is famous for the rare species of migratory birds known as 'Asian OpenBill Storks' (Anastomus Scitans) which come on an annual basis. Local people refer them as 'Siberian Cranes' and are fond of them. These birds are found in South-Asian countries - India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka. and in South-East Asian countries - Myanmar, Thailand and Cambodia. They visit this place from far off lands with the onset of monsoon in the region. They visit in number roughly in between 3000-5000. The number has been on rise in the recent years despite growing vehicular movement through the cantonment area. The Cantonment is the largest breeding ground (Heronry) of the Storks in the South Asia, as per the Asian Waterbird Census (AWC) conducted by Wetlands International South Asia. The report also says that the number of Asian OpenBill Storks in South Asia has fallen from 59,897 in 2002 to 16,771 in 2004. In 2006-07, India had the largest number of these birds at 13,036. The storks has been coming to the cantonment for decades. They hatch their eggs here and with the onset of winter they travel back with their siblings. Many ornithologists visit this place every year to watch and study the activities of these migratory birds. The cantonment being quite old has quite well developed trees in large areas which has been protected due to the presence of army. This place provides a calm and safe environment for these migratory birds. The presence of ample food in the Ganga plain and Sone river area provides food security to them. The Cantonment authority has even designated a part of the area as ecological park where the movement of vehicle is prohibited and human movement restricted. The army personnel keep a strict vigilance over more than 50-odd low rising trees where these birds prefer to built their nests.

This place provides a wonderful opportunity to the bird-lovers to watch the migratory birds.

How to reach :

It is easily reachable by autos or private vehicle from Patna. However, for visiting the interior areas, army permission may be required. Danapur Cantonment is the proposed starting station on Corridor 1-A (East West Metro Corridor) of Patna Metro rail project in Phase 1.

Distance :
Patna Junction ~ 6-7 km
Patna Airport ~ 2-3 km
Mithapur Bus Stand ~ 12-13 km