It was in high school when I was first saw a a gentleman looking in the bushes with his Binoculars. I assumed that the poor guy must have lost something and was looking for it.

It was years after that when I bumped into a group of passionate bird watchers. On my first day out bird-watching with my friend, I would proudly point out to my friend “Look there!! A flying crow!” and we would burst out laughing. I was never someone who’d remember small details which differentiated one bird from another. Add to that my terrible memory I would keep forgetting the names of the bird. I liked to spent time in the nature but was little interested on the birds.

It took me a few trips to the various birdwatcher places in the Himalayas to discover my love for the sport. Soon I was on my own with a thick book and a a pair of binoculars wandering in the woods. Now I can do this for hours and without much effort at all. My friend often baffled by my would ask , “but why birds? And I would explain to him they’re beautiful, amazing, interesting and amazing creatures. And I would explain in all my excitement there is a whole world of birds out there their names, their habits, their migratory patterns, and what they ate. How can anyone be so far away from this parallel universe.

There are many reason for you to indulge in birding activity. Many of them are personal. In this article I want to present my case on why I watch birds for past time and probably you should do.

Spend sometime in the Bird world

“We need the tonic of wildness…At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.”  wrote Henry David Thoreau in Walden. Even if you don’t know the name of the bird, the species of the bird, or heck even if its a bird. You will start living in a world different than yours.

Being present in the Here and Now.

There is a documentary The Greatest Movie Ever Sold where Morgan Spurlock advocates how we are constantly being bombarded with advertisements all the time. The documentary ends with him going along with his son to a nearby ridge to get away from all the buzz. In this much distracted world we live in, in a world of emails and whatsapp message, we are  continuously getting distracted. In a world like that it makes sense for us to find a escape from all the digital world and draw our attention to nature. If you develop birding as a hobby ,there will be your increased ability to focus at the task at hand.

 

Meet a community of birdwatchers

From Jack London to Tolstoy to Charles Darvin. You are in esteemed company. The  one small  birding community is now continuously increasing. If you with birding groups, you would found yourself among nature enthusiast, knowledgeable, friendly, nature-loving types.. These are not bad people to know. There is lot of learning and sharing in bird watching community.

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An adventure is about to start…

A single click of a rare bird can make you a superstar. A discoverer, an adventurer and a pioneer are example of the kind of name  calling you will have to go through. You might think that this dream is too big. Then I would remind you of beginners luck and how I was able to capture Monal Bird in only my second field trip. The fortune favors the brave. Here is a trailer to inspire you all budding bird watchers.

 

You just have to look

Birds are everywhere. I am not kidding they are everywhere. You just have to look. We are so busy in our own heads, we hardly notice them. A good way to begin you birding journey is to simply notice the birds around you. Juts notice what they are upto, which color they are, try to find their name. And with in months you would have seen plenty of birds. You might well be able to tell the migratory patterns of the birds or which bird is located where.

It makes you care about Environment

When you meet birders from earlier times, especially in a palace as vulnerable to global warming as Himalyas. The veterans would tell you how fast things are changing, how a specific species of migratory bird don’t come any where, how fast the glaciers are melting? You would come close to the real life issues that Earth is facing today. Since we have been living in concrete forests, we have grown immune to the pain of the real ones. Birding helps us to see it.

Helps you to get off the Couch

Bird-watching is not something that you can enjoy from your couch. You have to go outside to get anything out of it. If you want to see birds you have to meet them in their element. You get a first day experience of being in the nature all by yourself. Because some birds can only be seen at specific times, say dawn, it might well be a motivation for you to get out  early  of the bed. The deeper you go into the wild , the more your chances to find rare birds.

Birding is coming

According to the National Survey on Recreation and the Environment, there were 84 million bird watchers only in USA. The number is rising steeply. We have data only from USA at this point but birders agree that the number is rising. Specially in Himalayas places like Sattal, Chopta, Pangot, Munsyari and Ladakh receives number of migratory birds which in-turn make a lot of birdwatchers coming down too.

 

Birding is dirt cheap (In a good way)

Initially all you need is a pair of eyes and sound pair of ears. You have to keep them open in when you indulged in activity of birdwatching. The most important attraction of the party comes at no cost whatsoever. Once you get a little field of it, there are field books like “Birds of Indian Subcontinent” are a once in a lifetime expenditure.

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