An unremarkable village outside Ubud, Petulu hosts a daily phenomenon that’s a must for bird-watchers and sunset lovers alike: thousands upon thousands of herons and egrets returning from the rice fields and roosting in the trees like so many cotton wool fruit. They’ve been coming since 1965, and nobody knows why.The Basics
Petulu’s enterprising villagers have instituted a small charge for viewing the birds of an evening, which gets you access to a viewing platform on somebody’s roof. You don’t need a tour to visit Petulu: Simply arrive in the village at the right time and someone will take your money and show you where to go. However, given the difficulties of transport around Ubud, some travelers prefer to join a tour that includes an early evening stop in Petulu.Things to Know Before You Go
How to Get There
- Petulu is a must for bird-watchers, and fun for families and sunset lovers too.
- The numbers of birds that arrive vary from evening to evening, from hundreds to thousands.
- The viewing platforms are up narrow, winding stairs, with no access ramps.
Petulu is around 2 miles (3 kilometers) north of central Ubud, so it’s possible to walk or cycle, although you’ll be returning in the dark. Given the challenges of driving Bali’s choked roads, some travelers prefer to join a tour that includes door-to-door round-trip transfers or hire a private driver for the day.
When to Get There
The egrets and herons start returning to roost at around 5pm, with the nature show firmly over by the time the sun goes down. There’s no need to arrive before 5pm, as the village is rarely crowded. Nesting season starts in November, while the baby birds take to the skies in March.The Birds of Petulu
The watery environment of the rice fields is home to a bounty of food for wading birds, from fish and eels to juicy worms. At Petulu, look out for stripy Java pond herons, cattle egrets, and great egrets. On a good evening, as many as 20,000 individual birds can fly in and scuffle for their place in the trees.