Recently a cousin of mine,Madhav Rathore, an experienced, enthusiastic birder, bought a Canon EOS 7D with a huge telephoto lens. When I kidded him about buying such an expensive camera he insisted on taking me birding in the Central Park one evening. That is when the use of the camera became apparent to me. He was shooting birds perched at the top of tallest of trees where as I was limited to shooting squirrels and birds sitting in front of me in the grass.
But I got hooked to birding that day. I am no expert birder but by my own experience it is far easier to watch birds today. I take a picture of the whichever feathered friend which dares to cross my path and later on I put an ID to it with the help of a couple of Books. Where the books fail The Net comes to help. This method helps to engrave the names of the birds in the mind too. So the next time I come across the same bird I say smugly,” That is Brahminy Mayna you know !” and so on…
One thing you will notice is the exotic names of the birds. I can bet you powers that be who gave names to the birds put more thought in naming the birds than in naming their newborn sons. They have names like starling,Black Drongo,Grebe,darter etc. And each bird has its own charm. Own uniqueness which will hold you in thrall.
I have been to the Central Park many times before the day we went birding but I did not notice the birds before that day. Oh I could see the pigeons and the doves but the other beauties were hidden behind a muslin curtain as it were. Somebody had to point the birds out to me. Do you know usually we see two types of Doves in Jaipur one is Laughing Dove and the other is the Eurasian Collared Dove. And that the house sparrow may be endangered soon enough! Who would have thought of it!
I have been posting photos I take around Jaipur to www.flickr.com for some time now. If you see the stats on the photos you will realize that people like photos of flowers and plants more than photos of birds. I do not know why that is so but we have to be more aware of the beauty surrounding us in the form of birds more. Birds forage in the early morning but people go for their morning walk just then too. So the birds perch themselves on the highest branches of the trees. I suppose they come down later. I do not know.There are some birds which do not mind people at all and are all over the grass in the Park.
Now a days in every home there is a computer and a digital camera. All you have to do is to buy a beginners guide to birding. Be sure to buy one which has photos of the birds & not sketches. You can graduate to the books with sketches later.
Now find some time for yourself and the birds and go for a walk in the nearest Park or garden. Happy Birding.
I am posting some photos of the Birds I found.