The only way you’re going to see those birds is through your binoculars. So it’s important you
have a good set that offers a great view. Buy a more expensive one so that you can reap the
benefits of vastly superior images, lifetime warranty, waterproof housing, and light weight.
Once you spot the bird, your next challenge is to identify which bird you have spotted and
understand its key characteristics. Is it migrating? Is it nesting? Salim Ali, India’s leading
ornithologist, has the best guide and if you’re planning to invest in bird watching in a serious
way, it might be worthwhile to make the investment and buy his book!
It’s important to lure the birds into your backyard so you can observe them at your leisure. But
how do you do that? Simple. You need to install bird feeders. Start with a black oil sunflower
feeder. Add a suet feeder in winter and a hummingbird feeder in summer.
This much will equip you to be a pretty damn good bird watcher. But what happens when you
want to study the eagle at the top of that hill over there? Spotting scopes are what you need.
They are expensive but indispensable when it comes to final clues in determining the bird’s name.
You will want to take pictures of some of your best bird sightings and post them on Facebook or
Instagram. A good semi-automatic camera will be useful to carry around. Even a cell phone
camera will work if it is at least 12 mega pixels.
Once you’re outside and surrounded by birds, we recommend practicing a four-step approach
to identification. First you judge the bird’s size and shape; then look for its main colour pattern;
take note of its behaviour; and factor in what habitat it’s in.
The theoretical or media image of a bird watcher typically features a loner. But to be honest,
bird watching is more fun when you do it with other people. I like doing it with at least two
other people, one of whom knows more than me and the other who is probably a beginner.
Then an excited conversation can be sparked off upon sighting a bird.
Wonder and surrender
But more than all this, the most important qualities of a truly great bird watcher are wonder
and surrender. You must not be careful with nature. You must be generous. You must allow
yourself to be carried away by her spell. You must see not just with the eyes in your face but
also with the eyes in your mind and your heart. That is when the animal kingdom and nature
truly reveals its secrets to you.
And while in Coorg, don’t forget to explore Amanvana, the rabbit hole for the soul. With private
bungalows on the banks of the Kaveri, a sunken spa, delicious Coorgi cuisine and a wealth of flora
and fauna, it will be one of the most beautiful and soul-stirring experiences you ever have.