In 2008, I was taking a sabbatical from work, and on a whim I attended a "Naturalist Training Program" conducted by Jungle Lodges & Resorts (A Govt of Karnataka enterprise). The 3-day experience was an eye-opener for me, and my first formal introduction into the wonderful world of "birding". The next few
months were exciting times. I started going out on bird watching trails in every available green patch within Bangalore (my city). I noticed birds where there were none before. Camera-shy coucals and malkohas, leafbirds, sunbirds and flowerpeckers smaller than my thumb. Even exotic paradise flycatchers, right in the heart of the city. I found out (to some embarrassment) that everything that hovers is not an eagle. Most of them are in fact, kites. And of eagles and kites, there are many—black-shouldered, Brahminy, short-toed and crested.
These winged wonders have drawn me to distant places all over India, and with each trip, I've learnt a bit more about their world. I have met interesting people who share my passion for bird watching and made some good friends. And each time, I have returned home happy, but longing for more. Bird watching has led me to a better understanding of the significance of avian fauna in the larger web of life. Recognizing that our own well-being is closely linked with their survival, has been humbling.
"In the end, we will protect only what we love.
We will love only what we understand.
We will understand only what we are taught."