For children who have just got out of exam season, the stress can be quite hard. With studying for six subjects: sometimes more; with trigonometry, geometry, physics, algebra and everything else that follows students sometimes find themselves under a lot of stress.
Bird watching serves as a real stress buster and one can always find solace in the lap of nature be it sitting among trees, beside a lake, or in the urban scenario, even standing on the terrace and watching birds fly high up in the sky. Just watching birds go about their daily activities-foraging, roosting, vocalizing/calling out to each other, taking care of their young, or even just watching them feed can provide one with a lot of respite from the hustle and bustle of daily student life. Have you ever watched a bird bathe? It can provide quite some relief to the weary mind. The color of their feathers, their plumage, various hues and patterns each as intricate as the other, their behavior as well can be a lovely sight to watch. Birds come in a variety of hues, the worl have been a duller place without birds and birdsong.
Birds are highly visual like people, some species can be seen sporting jaw dropping color combinations and patters, ranging from yellows, blues, green, blacks, reds, etc and come in myriad shapes and forms, each as unique as the other.
Bird watching will make one go outdoors and bask in the lap of nature and will improve one’s skills of observation to a great deal.
The Indian subcontinent offers a wide variety, in terms of local birdlife as well as the migrants-some of which travel as much as ten thousand kilometers every year on their migratory routes to reach the subcontinent. The best time to watch birds would be from late December to early March, as this is when the migratory season starts, with some birds like sandpipers being seen as early as the third week of December. Others like storks, migratory ducks and some of the beautifully colored flycatchers come in only towards the middle of January. The Indian subcontinent harbors over 1300 species of birds of different hues, shapes, sizes,etc; both resident and migrants, some of which are highly endemic being seen only in particular locations and nowhere else in the country. With so much in terms of bird diversity, it is only normal that we find at least one of the multiple species found in the country, around us.
Birds can be found all around us and one need not travel to exotic, distant locales just to spot a few birds. Parks, backyard gardens, educational institutions, gardens, even trees beside the road can all support a variety of bird life. Bird watching doesn’t just help as a stress buster; it also helps us to learn about them and the natural world on a whole. Once you begin to watch birds you cannot fail to take note of how plant and insect life is also affected by the changing seasons.
For a beginner, the local park can be a good place to start, armed with no special equipment except a binoculars and a notebook. One must be quiet, careful and should try to be as inconspicuous to the bird as possible, making sure you maintain a reasonable distance from the bird, lest you chase it away or worse, inconvenience the bird by getting too close to it. Birds as you know need to be wary of predators and other threats that could pose harm. While out bird watching, wear subdued colors-browns, forest green, etc, walk slow and use the tree cover to approach. Never approach a bird head on, instead walk in slow zig zag paths, to avoid scaring the bird, without directly looking at the bird. The key to spotting birds is to look for movement and being able to distinguish movement of the leaves from that of birds. Once you are well versed with calls of a few common birds, the calls can be used to trace the bird and with time even identify which bird it is. So what are you waiting for kids? Get out into the lap of nature and explore the rich birdlife around you. The time is right, as we are exactly in the middle of the migratory season and there are scores of birds to be found around you. Pick up your binoculars, and a notepad and head off to the nearest park, garden, playground, etc and look around for our little feathered friends, watch them as they go about their daily routine and let them enthrall you.
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