The History of Bird Watching

20 March  |  Adventure & Travel

The Early Beginnings

Photo Credits: Wild Life of India

Most of us are familiar with bird watching. What was once a domain of naturalists and rich Victorian-era families, is now one of the most popular hobbies in the world. Victorian Era bird watching was more about the aesthetics and the romanticism of the woods, compared to the more scientific approach that today’s birders have.

The term ‘bird watching’ was believed to have first been coined in this context in the book Bird Watching, written by Edmund Selous and published in 1901. More than a century on, thousands across the world step out on their free days, strapping on their binoculars and finding the nearest bird habitats, with the hope of finding elusive species along with their favourites.

Salim Ali and the Growth of Bird Watching

Photo Credit: Pinterest

It is not surprising that India, with its rich ecosystems spread far and wide, would have a growing community of bird enthusiasts. Many attribute the bird watching hobby in India to Salim Ali, a pioneering ornithologist and conservationist. The Birdman of India penned the Book on Indian Birds, which to this day remains the go-to-resource for all birding enthusiasts in the country. Today there are many bird watching groups across the country and there are many ornithologists who are forging the way ahead for this growing community.

Follow These Birders

Photo Credit: Optics Den

Nowadays, birding and photography can go hand in hand – as more people can enjoy the joys of an exclusive sighting. There are many famous bird watchers in India that are worth following. Here are some of the top Indian twitchers.

Chennai entrepreneur A. M. Aravind is an avid bird watcher and has recently been in the news for his Twitter project which displays a bird a day for his followers. For those who want to know more about the birdlife in the urban landscape of Tamil Nadu’s capital, AM Aravind’s Twitter handle is a treasure trove of information. Sushil Thakur has been fascinated with birds for close to a decade and his photographs have a following in the birding community across the country.

Bangalore based Sheshadri Vasan has always been interested in wildlife and his bird photos are appreciated by many. He is a firm proponent of conservation and his recent picture of a crested hawk eagle with its lizard prey perfectly captured the brutality and grace of the raptor. Birding is his meditation, claims Navi Mumbai’s Vijay Patil. A civil engineer by profession, Mr. Patil has chronicled many species in the verdant surroundings and wetlands that can still be found in this suburban landscape.

There are many options close to Bangalore if you are seeking some bird watching recreational fun. Stay at Nandi Hills for some encounters with rare birds like the beautiful Asian Paradise flycatcher and different types of thrushes. There are many resorts in Kanakapura Road, a region famous for its lush surroundings, where you can put your binoculars and camera to good use. Those looking for a completely wild and immersive experience can choose from a range of jungle resorts in Kabini, a hub for wildlife and bird spotting.

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