A Guide to Backyard Birding

by Rahul Jayaraman

It is no doubt that nature and wildlife thrive best when they are away from human activity, and that they are found most in places where humans traverse least. But this is not absolute, and luckily for people like me, who love nature and wildlife, we still get a glimpse of what animal behavior and habitat looks like.

A lot of people think that wildlife has made a comeback during this pandemic and you can now see a lot more than you could earlier, but the truth is that they never left the cities and towns to begin with, for them to reclaim what is rightfully theirs. It is just that we have been blinded by our own activities that only when we are trapped in our homes, we look out through our balcony. And this is a mistake most people make, and I realized this when many of my friends were asking me how I got to see certain birds that they had never seen before right outside my house.

So, in this guide, I have compiled all the techniques and methods that I have learned in more than a year to find these birds, from the comfort of your own balconies and terraces.

Firstly, when someone is just starting out with this, its important to gather knowledge about which birds reside near them. So, if you live in an urban city like me, then you are likely to see more crows than barbets, more pigeons than storks. And the way in which we get to know that is through either reading, or the second simple way is through an app called E-Bird, which literally lists out all the birds that you can find near you.

So, with the help of this app, you can not only check all the birds you can find, but their calls, the way they look and the places they are likely to be in! And you too can contribute to this app by listing your sighting with a picture.

The second exercise that one can do, is to not only help certain birds in humid times like the Indian summer by using water pots that birds have access to, but also have a bird bath to attract certain birds that would otherwise not come near you.

This way, you can protect birds which are thirsty, and you can also take pleasure in getting to see them. The best example of which would be a Rose-Ringed Parakeet, a common species which often flies quite high and quite fast and does not come near human settlements like other birds do. But when I had a bird bath setup in my terrace, to my surprise one parakeet came here on a regular basis for a while to refresh itself. So, this is how you can co-exist with nature and sustain wildlife without having to go to wildlife sanctuaries or national parks.

The final piece of advice on this topic to anyone who is going to try this exercise would be patience. It took me a few months to spot my first bird which was not a crow/ a pigeon from my balcony. So it takes a lot of time, some effort ( you need sharp eyes and ears ) and genuine interest in doing this.

And a helpful tip would be to go to places where humans are less likely to go near!

Published by LakesOfIndia

Lakes of India is an E.F.I initiative aimed at sensitizing the larger public on freshwater habitats across the country. A blog platform where one can read about lakes across India. You can become a guest blogger to write about a lake in your hometown and initiate an action to protect that lake.

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