A hobby that takes you outdoors, helps you meet new people, learn about nature and can be practiced anywhere – is it really possible? Yes, if it is bird-watching that you want to do.
Bird-watching as the name shows is simple the observation of birds. Birds are among the most abundant of living creatures. Even if you live in a large city, there are plenty of common birds like mynahs, bulbuls and sparrows all around.
How do you start?
The two things you will need is a book that tells you about the birds in your area and a pair of binoculars. Large birds like the peacock, and even ducks, herons and eagles can be seen with the naked eye, but the details that add up to the beauty of a bird- the bright feathers, unusual beak, wing patterns-these are best seen with a pair of binoculars.
Binoculars start from Rs.1000 upwards but a good size to start with is a 8*42 where 8 stands for the magnification (number of times the bird looks bigger when seen through the binoculars) and 42 tells you much area you can see through the glasses.
Next, find an expert
Cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and many others have bird clubs that regularly go for bird walks on week-ends. While you can always look at a book, there is nothing quite like learning on the field from an experienced teacher.
Where should you go?
Bird clubs often go to specific sanctuaries, fields and protected areas but you could go even to a park or a beach (if you live in Chennai/Mumbai) and get started. Master the common birds first and then, when the season for migratory birds arrives (this is mostly in winter), learn to identify them.