Report By: Deepak Kumar
Naturalist and Guide to Asian Adventures
Generally speaking, there are two kinds of birdwatchers. There are those who like watching birds through binoculars and those who prefer taking pictures of birds. Regardless of the kind of birdwatcher than one is, one thing is expected, that they are going to find immense joy from watching the bird species that they had set out to watch.
If you think that bird watching is an easy task, well think twice. Bird watching is not for the fainthearted. Bird watchers are a determined tough people who are willing to go to great lengths to see beautiful birds. This usually sees them travel through some very challenging terrains and landscapes, all the while remaining positive as they try to update their personal data of bird sightings when they saw them and their habitats. Other than jotting down personal data concerning the birds they have sighted, birdwatchers also write comprehensive reports which include information about new species that may have been seen in a certain area. Such information goes a long way to help those who might be interested in visiting the area to watch the new species.
In my opinion, birdwatching is an interesting hobby that is suitable for individuals of any age group. This has seen to it that more parents are actively encouraging their children to indulge in bird watching. Some assessment has it that India has about 10,000 birdwatchers.
Although the number of birdwatchers is on a steady increase, expert birdwatchers say that there has been a downside to the increase in birdwatchers. What used to be a beautiful hobby has now been turned into a professional activity, making it a tiresome activity with no passion involved. A good number of birdwatchers do not have the patience to wait for nature to unravel its mysteries. Such individuals are ever in a race, to quickly spot a bird and tick it off their list. The same can be said for photographers who are more concerned about getting a good shot than learning more about a certain species.
Technology has also influenced birdwatching a lot. Birdwatchers now have access to mobile apps that have different bird calls. They use these calls to lure out the birds so that they can watch them. As much as the use of such technologies is advantageous, overusing them in certain areas will confuse the birds which only functions to change their behavior patterns. This has happened so much that some places are debating on whether to ban the use of recorded bird calls. There are some birdwatchers in the South who have even gone as far as to use bait to lure birds into their orbit. Such birdwatchers store enough cockroaches, mice and other bugs and pests to attract different kinds of species.
As is expected, man has turned a peaceful hobby into a competitive one, complete with a lot of commercialization that has taken the beauty out of it. One cannot simply just enjoy birdwatching without the pressures of delivering. For birdwatching, it is important for one to go with the flow of nature and avoid deriving your pleasure from disturbing other creatures.