Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Bird Watching

Nature around us is to powerful and compelling that it takes us out in jungles and wilderness to witness its truth and grandeur. Birds are Nature’s sweetest Vuvuzelas which attract bird lovers around the globe to walk into dense jungles to find them and enjoy their melodious sounds. Along with many other hobbies, bird watching is one of the most widespread hobbies around the world.
Man has always wanted to fly by getting inspiration from the birds flying high in the sky. And this attracted the man to the birds and appreciate it ability to fly. The varying verities and their beautiful cloak attracted people to watch them and appreciate their beauty. This quest further when the quest to find newer and newer species. Since bird watching can only be done in complete silence and stillness, only those who love the peace and tranquility start to bird watch as birds would disappear in a jiffy if these sense even the slightest movement on ground or listen to a faintest sound not familiar to them. The best thing about the hobby of birding is that one doesn’t require a special gear for watching bird. At best one may need a pair of binoculars and water proof boots if one is thinking of venturing into the water.
And when one ventures into it, it is whole lot mysterious, surprising, informative and soul satisfying. One may never know what kind of bird one may find on a particular birding day. The small digital cameras with zooming facility come handy in taking photographs of the unknown species and adding the photos to one’s own database.
For beginners, bird watching, which also called birding, is simply the observation of birds with naked eye or through binoculars. One starts to learn to quickly recognize what group a bird belongs to. This can be done by becoming familiar with the general shape, color, and behavior of birds, and by keeping a running tally of what kinds of birds are generally seen in ones locality or area at given time of the year. As one learns the basics, then bird watching becomes a study of birds and identifying the birds even by listening the bird calls.
No matter how birding is practiced, bird watching is mainly an outdoor recreational activity for personal pleasure and social reasons. The bird watching differs from the ornithology, which is the study of birds using more specific scientific methods and is the job of professionals called ornithologists.
Pakistan is one of the lucky countries where each year hundreds and thousands of migratory birds arrive from the cold regions of Siberia, CARs and Europe to find comparatively warm waters to spend their winters. These birds start to arrive in early November and stay here till March-April, when they start their homeward journey. This provides an excellent time for the bird watchers to satisfy their birding hobby and watch some of the beautiful birds of the world.
I am myself witness to such a site in Sind desert where I found countless migratory birds resting on the green waters of an artificial lake near Sandh and Gabbar. When my jeep engine broke the silence of otherwise calm that prevailed in that remote desert lake, suddenly the entire lot took off and it turned the bright sunny day into almost total darkness as the sky was filled with those majestic birds, specially the black swans, and my favourite.
Besides black swans, Houbara Bustards, Flamingos, Swans and many other species of birds like the Marbled Teal, White-headed Duck, Eurasian Spoonbill, and Dalmatian Pelican throng the wetlands in Pakistan.
My next post will encompass details on bird watching sites and wetlands that attract migratory birds each year.
Related Reading: Come November – the guests season starts (JahoJalal)


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