Lonely Canopy Art & Travel

Traveling the world, one sketch at a time!

The Birdwatcher’s House In Thattekad Forest

Birdwatching in Kerala: A for Asian Koel, B for Barbette …

Live close to nature and you’ll never feel lonely. Don’t drive those sparrows out of your veranda; they won’t hack into your computer. — Ruskin Bond

We caught the bird watching bug, back in 2015, after a few excursions to nearby lakes and bird spots in Bangalore.  Of course, then we wanted a bigger adventure. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary in Thattekad felt like a nice idea. So we planned a year-end Kerala trip around it. The Bird Song Homestay had such a nice ring to it. I kept dreaming about it. When we drove into Thattekad from a busier Fort Kochi, the transition was gradual. Though Kerala is pretty in its entirety, there was something special in the pristine views and silences that I felt at Thattekad.

A house brought alive with the musical performances of birds, crickets, and cicadas.

We entered the main gate and I distinctly remember falling in love with the view inside – huge bamboo groves, a small bridge over a river, and a Kingfisher perched atop a lone shoot jutting out of the river. It was almost like a dream. We then drove into the homestay. It felt noisier and more crowded than we had pictured. Fortunately, we were told this is not Bird Song!

Bird Song Homestay

It was a sigh of relief as we backed our car and headed to the end of the road. There was an exotic board of the Ceylon Frogmouth Owl, and how it was extinct until it was revived in this very sanctuary. We turned the corner and saw the bright orange building of Birdsong Homestay, standing out like a candy in the green surroundings. My husband jumped out with his camera as soon as we parked the car beside a mini butterfly farm that they had going on in the garden.


The two-floored house is quite basic. Vinod’s family lives on the ground floor, which is a bit sunken, like a semi-basement. A staircase leads down to the backyard, which was pretty with a small farm and a little pathway to the river. A pair of Brahminy Kites had adopted the homestay and would fly around surveying the property. One of them was a rescue bird with an injured wing. There was also another couple, a certain Mr. Orange Hornbill & Mrs. Grey Hornbill perched ostentatiously atop another tree nearby.

The first floor has two rooms leading to an open balcony with a dining table and some easy chairs to relax in. Food is served in the open balcony for the guests in both rooms.

By the time we settled in our room, there was some piping hot black tea on the table and yummy pakoras. We relaxed and attuned ourselves to the chirpy neighborhood right in the middle of a virgin forest territory. Though this was a buffer zone, it didn’t have any noises around, and all you have to do is look for birds and start your countdown!


Thattekad forest is on the banks of the Periyar river. You can kayak or hire a boat and explore the scenic river vistas. If you are lucky, some sloth bears will come for a drink and say hi to you.

Our Thattekad Vacation Experience


The Narayanan family (Vinod & Sini) are the warmest of hosts, and very committed to the food and tea routines. Soon another couple joined us, they were staying in the room next door. And we became friends quite fast, may be due to the nature of this place, or the fact that they shared many a common interest with us. Our three day stay in this quiet abode was a most memorable time.

We had many bird watching adventures with Vinod, relished many sumptuous and healthy home-cooked meals by Sini (including a squid preparation that takes almost 3-4 hours to prepare), and spent silent evenings listening to the sounds of the forest. The bird sanctuary is situated on the banks of the Periyar river. We spent a day kayaking and boating to explore the scenic river vistas. If you are lucky, some sloth bears will stop by for a drink and say hi to you.

The Birdsong home stay remains a special memory to this day. And yes, we did see the Frogmouth too!

My chief interest in bird study has always been its ecology, its life history under natural conditions and not in a laboratory under a microscope. By traveling to these remote, uninhabited places, I could study the birds as they lived and behaved in their habitats. – Dr. Salim Ali.


Overenthusiastic Bird Watcher




All artwork is done by Seema Misra, Copyright Lonely Canopy.

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Seema Misra

Seema Misra undertakes freelance projects for illustrations, content creation, copywriting, and social media marketing through her blog Lonely Canopy. To unwind, she watches world cinema or travels across it. She talks to her plants and sometimes people as well. But more often than not … you will find her curled up in her favorite corner reading a book while sipping strong coffee.

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What a show by the birds!


Oh this is gorgeous and has been earmarked for a stay for I am in love with bird watching with my DSLR and this place sounds ideal for it. Thank you for sharing such a loving and warm review of the homestay; it sure does speak a lot about its virtues.

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Ashwini Menon (@Ashwini_Menon)

My favourite story so far. For one, the artwork s distinct. Secondly Ive been wanting to bird watch for a while. Intrigued after my small attempt at Coorg. I ll try and convince my husband for this…but he doesnt like homestays!:( He prefers his five star comforts. I like how charming all your stays were. 🙂 One day maybe…
Great work Seema. Keep going. 🙂


Loved the art work.. It’s interesting to know about bird watch. I have heard it but honestly never gave a try. Looks like I have to plan something to experience this journey. I have always wondered about the migratory birds since childhood. How they travel from one to other and return back. T is Ten commandments. https://syncwithdeep.wordpress.com/2018/04/23/t-ten-commandments-blogchattera2z-atozchallenge-atoz/


Loved reading this and the drawings..😊


I loved the name – Birdsong homestay, it has such a romantic feel to it. Since the spring, a magpie has been waking me up every morning. She starts chirping from 5:15-5:30 in the morning and keeps on going till evening. If a bird’s chirping gives me so much pleasure, I can’t even imagine how you must have felt staying surrounded by so many birds and their unique sounds.

Shilpa Nairy

Seema, Awesome art work!! Homestay amid forest is lovely place to savour nature.


Bird watching is interesting indeed. I have had my share at Chilika in Odisha.. lovely time spent amidst bird songs, nature and clicking pics…

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Arti Jain

Putting my prayer to the Universe here–one never knows what the universe may be paying attention to and where:)
“Dear Universe, please arrange for me a stay at this beautiful place called Bird Song Homestay. You can check out the details on this post. ASAP will be appreciated.
Jokes aside, your sketches are just so beautiful—taking me back to Malgudi days.
Thank you Seema.
T is for Tales of Tailors

Keith's Ramblings

What an amazing time you had. You took me back a few years to when I enjoyed a homestay in Kerala. Love the sketches too!

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Cathy Kennedy

Dropping by after your visit over the weekend. It’s nice meeting you. I enjoy seeing birds in flight or perched in a tree eating berries but I’m not a serious birdwatching. It’s just a passing muse. It was a pleasure to reading the recount of your adventures. I liked how you incorporated your sketches in with your writing, too. Happy A2Zing!

~Curious as a Cathy
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Namratha Varadharajan

Oh I loved the sound of this experience. I wonder if they allow noisy kids to come along😊 till I do get down to this place I believe I am going to hold on to the images your experience evoked. I enjoyed the sketches with a hint of humour in them. Lovely.

Tale Of A Woman’s Career

Iain Kelly

A different style, I enjoyed the light-hearted characters.

Simply Infatuated

The bird sanctuary sounds amazing–beautiful and vibrant! I also love the artwork, it’s fun!


Bird song home stay? The name itself would draw me in and make me stay if your description and skilled drawings didn’t do that. Thank you for sharing Seema


When I imagine, Bird Song Homestay sounds like a vintage cottage amidst the forest with rustic door and panels. The view from the balcony must be so serene. Great post!

Bob Scotney

This makes my bird watching from our front window look a little tame. Loved the illustrations,

Donna B. McNicol [@dbmcnicol]

My favorite post of yours so far…just had to comment!
Donna B McNicol, author & traveler
Romance & Mystery…writing my life
A-Z Flash Fiction Tales: http://dbmcnicol.blogspot.com
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I love bird watching and I can only wonder the joy of staying in such a nature surrounded by their chirping 🙂 What better could one ask for?


I can hear the tweets of the birds right from your post and feel the serenity of the place with the river flowing beside your stay. Artwork is again unique dear.


Love your artistry! 😊💕