Birdwatching A Wonderful Hobby
Creature Companions|June 2021
At times I used to wonder, will I ever witness a Common Tailor Bird building its nest? Well, this pandemic has given me the opportunity to get such a moment.
Dr. Dilip Verma

With everything under lockdown, I got time to closely watch Common Tailor Bird and observe how this small beautiful bird just curls up two leaves of mango tree to make a tunnel-like structure, uses its sharp beak to pierce through its ends, and makes an almost totally invisible nest.

At a time when humans are nervously tracking spread of the virus as it seeps through communities and leaps across borders, new birders are finding relief in tracking the migratory patterns of Bar Headed Goose, Forest Wagtail, Indian Paradise Flycatcher instead.

For many, bird-watching has been a respite from the fast-paced life. Now the chirps and coos in the backyard, once ignored as background noise, have become clues to understanding an entire ecosystem.

BIRDWATCHING – A RECREATIONAL ACTIVITY

Birdwatching is a form of wildlife observation in which the observation of birds is a recreational activity. It can be done with naked eye, through a visual enhancement device like binoculars and telescopes, by listening for bird sounds, or by watching public webcams. Birdwatching often involves a significant auditory component, as many bird species are more easily detected and identified by ear than by eye. Most birdwatchers pursue this activity for recreational or social reasons.

HISTORICAL ASPECT OF BIRDING

Birdwatching in real terms dates back to late 18th century. The study of birds, and natural history in general, became increasingly prevalent in Britain during the Victorian Era, often associated with collection of birds and eggs. It was only in late 19th century that called for bird protection, started owing to the increasing popularity of observations on birds.

As a result, the Audubon Society was started to protect birds in the United States while the Royal Society for the protection of birds began in Britain.

Initially, birdwatching was a hobby undertaken in developed countries. Since the second half of 20th century, an increasing number of people in developing countries have engaged in this activity – transnational birding has played an important role in this, as birders in developing countries usually take up the pastime under the influence of foreign cultures with a history of birding.

MY ENCOUNTER WITH BIRDWATCHING

For me, birding started when I bought one of the simplest of Cameras, Canon 550D with 55-250mm lens to capture my young son’s activities; secondly, when I saw a photograph of one of the most beautiful Indian birds, Indian Paradise Flycatcher (previously named as Asian Paradise Flycatcher), I roamed in every possible forest in Chhattisgarh to click the bird. At last, the search ended in a place called Rajeev Smriti Van in Raipur; since then I have captured every possible moment of the whole life cycle of the bird, right from building its nest to seeing its chicks taking their first flight from the nest.

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