Kolkata, Jan 18: In a first, a bird festival is being organised at the Mahananda wildlife sanctuary in West Bengal to provide an opportunity to enthusiasts to explore the forest and watch different birds, officials said on Monday.

The Darjeeling Wildlife Division will be organising the 1st Mahananda Bird Festival from February 20 to 23, they said.

The participants will be taken to the popular birding spots such as Rongdong and Latpanchor, besides other birding trails within the forests, Chief Wildlife Warden VK Yadav said.

Visitors will be able to witness the diverse landscapes of rivers, plains, forests and hills during the festival, he said.

Those interested will have to register online through wbsfda.org and the applications will be accepted till February 2.

Experts will guide the participants throughout the festival, officials said.

The participation fee is Rs 5,000 and it includes entry fees, food and lodging, they said.

Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary is rich in fauna and has more than 300 species of birds.

The sanctuary has been designated as an ‘important bird area’ due to its critical role in the conservation of birds and their habitat.

The sanctuary is well known among the birding community, and bird watchers flock to it for sighting the Rufous-necked hornbill, among other birds.