Thattekkad is a huge nest that holds the memories of famous ornithologist Dr. Salim Ali. The soft flutters and chitter-chatter of different kinds of birds that fill the ambiance make Thattekkad a bird lover's paradise.
The Thattekkad sanctuary is home to rare species of birds such as the Malabar pied hornbill (pandan vezhambal), the Black Sparrow (kakka thamburatti), which mimics the sound of eighteen birds, the Ripli Owl, the Ceylon Frogmouth (makkachi kaada), the Malabar Whistling Thrush (choola kakka) and the common grey hornbill. The sanctuary, widely known for its exclusive bird population, houses both migratory birds and rare birds of local origin.
The survey conducted by Dr. Salim Ali in 1933 spotted about 130 species of birds. It being legally protected, Thattekkad is now a safe haven of about 320 bird species. Only 60 per cent of the total bird population at Thattekkad are permanent dwellers. The rest of them are migratory birds who have flown to the sanctuary from far off places. Experts are of the opinion that migratory birds from countries such as Siberia, Tehran and Iran are regular visitors. On request, experienced guides are available to explain about the unique flora and fauna of Thattekad.
The Interpretation Centre at Thattekkad provides a vivid description of the different ecosystems. It also provides valuable information about those rare animal species that have made their way to the Red Data Book. Sculptures of various extinct birds, animals, insects and reptiles adore the Interpretation Centre. The sculpture of Dodo, the bird that has been wiped off from the earth long back, deserves special mention.
Those travellers who have a passion for trekking can avail themselves of the service of a guide to explore the deep forest. The three-hour journey through the woods would cost the traveller Rsn 500. However, due to the possible threat from wild animals, travellers are not allowed to stride further into the forest. Every trekking group consisting of five members need to have a guide with them.
Tree houses have been built at various points for those adventurous travellers who would love to stay back in the forest for a day or two. The watch tower that has been set up in the forest is an ideal viewpoint from where the whole forest could be surveyed.