I just got back from a week of trekking and a week of birding at Uttarakhand. Usually, a blog post after a trip like this takes mere hours as that’s the first thing I do when I get back. But, this has taken more than 2 days for me to update. Honestly, I am very disillusioned by birding these days, to say the least.
At its most basic definition, birdwatching is simply about enjoying and identifying wild birds, as well as observing their behavior (appearance and calls included) in their natural habitat. If you have followed my blog, you will notice that I’ve been fascinated by birds and their behavior since I took this hobby up about 3 years ago. Their world is intricate and sometimes beyond human understanding when you look at how they function and their migratory patterns.
In the need to understand them, ornithologists in the past have used methods that are at times even gruesome. I mean my heart sank when I found out (very late in life) that Dr Salim Ali would shoot down birds in order to identify and document different species.
Another such ‘unethical’ method is playing back bird songs in order to attract birds. I did a bit of reading and there are studies that have proven that playing the recorded song of a bird species in the wild, simply to lure it into view, can harm the bird. The recorded song may be heard by the bird as a challenge from a competitor, resulting in unnecessary stress on the bird. Or the song could distract the bird from normal activities, such as caring for its young.
With the advent of technology and birders who are in search of that perfect shot (mostly for Social Media), has made field guides across, walk with Bluetooth-enabled speakers to play sounds almost non-stop. Our 5 day ‘birding’ involved sitting through a couple of sessions in a hide (another concept I am definitely done doing) and walking with guides whose sole focus is to get you that perfect shot. To the extent, they are pushy asking us to get out to get birds that are not common.
I am an equal culprit for not putting my foot down and going with the flow. But, the more I think about it, the more I am convinced this will be my last such outing.
I do sincerely hope birders are a little more sensitive towards a world that we may not fully understand and do not worry about that gorgeous-looking creamy background, almost studio-like shots. Think about it, everyone has the exact same shot as you. So, what’s the big deal?
Okay, rant is done. I have categorized this blog into two. The first set, looks great but I am least proud of them as they are either shot in a hide or by luring the bird to come towards us. The second set is something that is shot completely in the wild without any gimmicks and the way it should be done.
And, here’s an additional article that every birder must read.
Scarlet minivet (male and female)
There are a lot more, but this is all that I could get myself to edit and post for now. For the rest, well, there is always Instagram isnt it?