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