Birding – a hobby

Whenever I mention “birding” as my hobby, I get raised eyebrows and teasing smirks from anyone I am speaking to. People here in Mumbai often slang birding to observing girls 😉 But here I am talking about a different type of birding (the literal meaning) : observing and identifying birds in their natural habitat. Initially, inexperienced birders are very confused as they can only identify a few of the species/ families of birds. Some of the most common birds we (those living in crowded metros) observe are pigeons, sparrows, crows, parrots, mynas, and maybe, just maybe, a bulbul or two.

Crested Serpent Eagle
Crested Serpent Eagle – Corbett National Park

I was introduced to this activity at a very young age when our family visited Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary in Rajasthan. Ever since then, I almost got addicted to taking pictures of birds and quickly looking it up in birding guides and identifying the next time I saw that bird.

Yellow Bulbul
Yellow Bulbul – Dandeli

Bird behaviour observation is quite interesting and it’s correct identification is challenging too. Coming to bird photography, you really need a lot of patience as you know birds never sit still in the perfect lighting for you to get that one perfect shot.

White rumped shama
White rumped shama – Dandeli

Some of the best bird shots I have managed to take were in the Old Magazine House at Dandeli, Karnataka. Its a small resort where they keep water in their backyard and many wild birds of the western ghats come there to drink. The sheer variety of the birds here amazes me.  No wonder western ghats is called one of India’s biodiversity hotspots.

Emerald Doves
Emerald Doves – Dandeli

People ask me how I can spot so many birds from so far away. But after years of searching birds in deep dense foliage, your eyes get accustomed to it and it becomes much more natural. You see a flutter of leaves and you know it’s a bird. You see some flashes of colors and you can identify as you know the most common birds in the area.

Crested Serpent Eagle
Crested Serpent Eagle – Naagzira
Verditer flycatcher
Verditer flycatcher – Dandeli
Collared dove
Collared dove – Corbett National Park

I am really in awe of this beautiful, diverse Earth which we share with so many different species. Birding truly provides me a way of relaxation, far from the busy bustling cities.

I will touch upon other aspects of birding in another post. So long.. 🙂

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