Winter migratory birds have flown back to
their native lands, and the spotlight is now on resident species, birdwatchers
came in millions, steely blue-and-white barn swallows, all the way from Eurasia
to escape the harsh winters. Once summer set in, they flew back to their
homeland. Sandpipers, with a dull brown and grey or streaked plumage, have bid
goodbye. So have the migratory pin-tailed ducks and garganeys. The spotlight is
now on resident birds.
out, and you will spot jet black drongos, red-vented bulbuls, and purple
sunbirds perched on neighbourhood trees, pecking on fruits. â€śThey are native
birds that can be spotted through the year,â€ť says P.R. Selvaraj of Coimbatore
Nature Society (CNS).
other common resident birds are black kites, the greyish-brown pale-billed
flowerpecker (a small, stout bird that feeds on chakkarapazham or small cherry
fruits), and yellow-billed babbler. â€śGolden oriole, the yellow-and-black
Eurasian migratory bird, is still around. You can see it perched on fig, banyan
and badam trees. It will fly back shortly,â€ť he adds.
foothills and places near water bodies are ideal bird-watching spots. You can
set out early in the morning and watch the birds through the day. Books such as
Richard Grimmettâ€™s book on Birds of The Indian Sub-Continent or Salim Aliâ€™s
Book of Indian Birds can be a handy guide, says Selvaraj.
of the birds to watch out for are the Indian Roller (earlier called Blue Jay),
a blue bird with a brown head. You can see it near wetlands, fields and arid
lands at dawn. The chestnut-bellied sand grouse, which has a brown-greyish body
and is the size of a pigeon, can be sighted too.
Marudhamalai foothills, Selvaraj and his team sighted the pied bush chat, a
black bird with a white patch, and shrikes the size of mynahs.
is ideal to study the nesting behaviour of birds, says Mohammed Saleem of
Environment Conservation Group (ECG), who is camping in Maharashtra to catch a
glimpse of the endangered Great Indian Bustard. â€śItâ€™s quite an experience,â€ť
says Saleem about the nesting of the pied bush chat, which he observed in the
city outskirts. â€śIt builds the nest on a small opening on a mud wall or on
crevices in the rock. Itâ€™s fascinating to watch the birds bring the worms to
feed the chicks. The parents take turns to feed the chicks. They take great
pains to clean the nest of bird droppings too. On the way to Ooty, we can see a
lot of these nests,â€ť he adds.
mynahs, blue rock pigeons (we see them in 100s), Indian Robin (the male is
black and female is brown) can be seen nesting near farmlands; they provide
worms, grains and spiders for the chicks. â€śThe birds must not be disturbed.
They abandon the nest if they sense any disturbance. It might endanger the
chicks,â€ť he warns.
can listen to the call of the kuyil (cuckoo) in summer, says K. Ratnam. An avid
bird watcher, he has authored many books on Indian birds. â€śThe male kuyil is
black while the female has a striped body. They can be spotted on mango and
neem trees enjoying the fresh foliage of spring,â€ť he says.
says the lack of rainfall and the cutting of trees have affected the birds.
However, he spotted the golden backed woodpecker, white-breasted kingfisher,
and tree pie (brown body, long tail and white head) from the terrace of his
home in Singanallur.
photographer K. Jayaram says summer is when ground nesting birds such as the
yellow-wattled lapwing and red-wattled lapwing build their nests on abandoned
agricultural lands, dry lake beds, dried-up ponds, or wastelands. â€śYou need a
good pair of binoculars, a field guide and the company of a seasoned bird
watcher to observe birds. Forest edges, tree canopies, foothills, orchards and
public gardens and even your neighbourhood is a good way to begin,â€ť he adds.
How to invite birds
water bowls in front of your homes, balcony or the terrace
some grains and food
love small plants or trees
Nilambur: The common white-throated kingfisher
and Sulur Tanks: Black-and-white pied kingfisher, Little blue Kingfisher
and Perur: The blue-and-yellow Stork-billed kingfisher
and Anaikatty: Green Chloropsis (leaf bird) and barbets
tank: Pelicans, painted storks, egrets and herons
popular spots are the foothills of Kovai Coutralam, Marudhamalai and Siruvani
snipes that resembles the size of a hen. A brown and black bird with a long
Courser, a brown bird with an orangish neck.
paddy bird â€” dark brown or greyish bird. It resembles a stork and found near
raptors ( black and grey), oriental honey buzzard, shikras, seven sisters
(babblers), forest eagle owls and larks (brown bird smaller than sparrows)
You can spot
Painted snipes â€” Resemble a that resembles
the size of a hen. A brown and black bird with a long beak; the size of a hen
Indian Courser â€” A brown bird with an
The paddy birdâ€” A dark brown or greyish bird
that resembles a stork; found near the drains.
Other birds include parakeets, raptors (black
and grey), oriental honey buzzard, shikras, seven sisters (babblers), forest
eagle owls and larks (a brown bird smaller than the sparrow)