Birding should be treated separate from Wild Life. Here’s why!

Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher

Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher | Thank you Tamron for the lens.

What are the first things that come to your mind when someone says “Wild Life”?

 

tricoloured munia, rajarhat kolkata

Birding needs to be treated as a separate genre | Anirban Saha

 

Tigers and other animals or perhaps the greenery, isn’t it? Around 25% of people who were asked this question, mentioned “Tigers” while 30% other mentioned names of other animals. 40% mentioned that the term brings to their mind, the feel of a thrill and adventure. 15% however mentioned anything even remotely related to birds and less than 1% could name a few birds.

 

I’ll tell you why I pick this topic up today.

I have seen my acquaintances in the field of birding crib about a lot of things – from the greenery in Rajarhat making way to the concrete jungle, the tree that housed the owlet in the Central Park Salt Lake being cut, to the lack of awareness in people on how they should behave in Purbasthali. This apart from poaching, the inconvenience of the migratory birds, widespread ignorance. We hardly know of younger people who’ve taken up birding as a full-time profession.

 

himalayan cuckoo, sikkim, sachen

Himalayan Cuckoo | Tamron SP 160 – 600 G2 lens | Shot during Birding-Blogging Trek | Edit: Souranil De

 

The problem here is – There is no mass awareness of the variety of birds we see around even in our daily lives. There are enough attempts to create wildlife conservation awareness. But with the very term, the general mass forms different imageries, of which our feathered friends are not a part of. We often ignore their presence, thus.

 

 

Birding in itself should become an industry; with birding specific bloggers, governments having a slight budget to promote birding in their state, separate business research to see if birding could sell. With money flowing into the system, more people would be made to speak about it, creating and spreading awareness.

 

Barred Cuckoo-Dove

Barred Cuckoo-Dove | Dubdee Monastery, Sikkim | Tamron SP 160-600 G2 lens

 

A birder could then earn from not only guided tours but also monetise his blog, earn from endorsements of a lens, camera equipment, take travel blogging assignments specific to birding. He could also just have his own merchandise and earn from it. Further beyond, specific fun workshops could be arranged where young school kids could be introduced to the world of birding. I’m sure there would be more ways of revenue generation than just this. A blog would be a head start to his personal brand. But all these efforts wouldn’t be fully recognised if birding is not made mainstream; birding is not treated as a separate genre.

 

Do you know: There are 1235 species of birds that can be seen in India? Of which you can see 763 species only in West Bengal?

 

cinereous tit kolkata

Cinereous Tit | Rabindra Sarobar, Kolkata

 

Do you know: With people taking interest in birding,  631 species of birds were spotted in West Bengal in 2016 compared to 368 in 2012. That’s a rise.

 

Red Crested Pochard purbasthali

Red Crested Pochard flying away | Purbasthali, West Bengal

 

Do you know: Ashwika Kapoor, world’s youngest Green Oscar winner is a Kolkata based girl who did her documentary on a bird named “Sirocco”, which is a Kakapo Parrot?

 

Do you know: Purnima Barman, Assam-based conservationist, won the prestigious Green Oscar in 2017 for her sustained efforts to raise awareness about the Greater Adjutant Stork and it’s habitat.

 

crested serpent eagle sunderban

Crested Serpent Eagle | Sunderban, West Bengal | Tamron SP 150-600 G2 lens

.

taiga flycatcher kolkata, birds in central park kolkata

Taiga Flycatcher | Central Park Kolkata | Tamron SP 150 – 600 G2 lens | Handheld by Swarnava Nandi

.

birds in sunderban

Pied Kingfisher | Sunderban, West Bengal | Trip with GoingWild | Tamron SP 150 – 600 G2 lens

.

common kingfisher, white throated kingfisher

Two species of Kingfisher. The Common Kingfisher is out of focus. Towards the right is the White Throated Kingfisher | Shot in Purbasthali, West Bengal

.

painted stork, rabindra sarobar birds, rabindra sarobar bird photographs

Painted Stork with the kill! | Rabindra Sarobar, Kolkata | Guess which lens I’ve used?

 

Do you know:

In Kolkata, you can take some time off and visit the following places to see the variety of birds who visit them:

 

  • Central Park Salt Lake
  • Chintamoni Kar Bird Sanctuary
  • Rajarhat wetlands
  • Rabindra Sarobar

 

 

You can go to the nearby Purbasthali for a day to just learn about birds. Or perhaps, Sunderban could be very inspiring.

 

black rumped flame back, lesser golden backed woodpecker, birds in rabindra sarobar, birds in bengal

Black-Rumped Flameback | Rabindra Sarobar | Tamron SP 150 – 600 G2 Lens | Thank you Souranil and Swarnava

.

coppersmith barbet, birds in bengal, birds in rabindrasarobar

Coppersmith Barbet | Rabindra Sarobar

.

pheasant tailed jacana, birds in rajarhat

Pheasant Tailed Jacana. Look at the sexy golden nape! Shot at Rajarhat with Swarnava and Souranil.

 

Even when it comes to bird photography, how would a newcomer be introduced to this? Do we have enough resources on the web which speaks about where a bird can be spotted? When spotted – how to approach the bird? When I saw and photographed a bird for the first time, I was very inspired.

 

osprey in purbasthali

Osprey juvenile | Purbasthali | Tamron SP 150 – 600 G2 lens

 

Kolkata Bloggers and GoingWild organised a wildlife-blogging tour to Sunderban and a birding-blogging trek near Sachen, Sikkim. There had been enough interest in people who paid for the trips. The intent of these trips was to see if birding specific trips could be organised. And it was a success and we look forward to organising the next trip.

 

Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher

Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher | Thank you Tamron for the lens. | Shot during the Birding-Blogging Trek in Sikkim

.

green backed tit

Green backed Tit | Edited by Souranil De | Shot during the Birding-Blogging Trek

.

orange bellied leafbird

Orange-bellied Leafbird | Shot during the birding-blogging Trek | Edited by Souranil De

.

slaty backed forktail

Slaty-backed Forktail | Shot during the birding-blogging Trek | Edited by Souranil De

.

Rufous bellied Niltava

Rufous bellied Niltava | Shot during the birding-blogging Trek | Edited by Souranil De

.

striated bulbul

Striated Bulbul | Shot during the birding-blogging Trek | Edited by Souranil De

Advertisement: Know more about the Birding-Blogging Trek by clicking here.

 

As individuals who take interest in birds, it is upon us to create the awareness around us. We should write more about it online and not just restrict ourselves to the social media; encourage others to take a note of it. We could make a change. We are the change.

 

white throated kingfisher

Do you know: West Bengal’s State Bird is the White Throated Kingfisher?

.

oriental magpie robin

Do you know: Oriental Magpie Robin is the national bird of Bangladesh?

 

If you find this article interesting, stay connected to 

Souranil De: He is the reason why I got introduced to birding. He is 9 years younger to me and is the youngest friend I have. Read “Introduction to birding” to know how I got into birding.

Souranil blogs at www.souranil.de. Here he has come up with blog posts like:

a. Basics of Birding: Family and Activity.

b. Basics of Birding: How to Start.

c. Lists of Common Birds: Part 1,2,3,4.

 

Swarnava Nandi: He is young and probably the best guide any newcomer can have, if s/he wants to start with birding. I am forcing him to blog at www.swarnavanandi.com

He is now an intern working with GoingWild LLP.

 

GoingWild LLP: GoingWild LLP is a Wild Life Tourism Startup. Kolkata Bloggers in association with GoingWild organised two trips which encouraged people to blog about their experiences to raise awareness. If you want to know more about the Birding Blogging Treks/Trips, do click on this link.

 

scaly breasted munia, rajarhat kolkata

Thank you.