For new feathers in the hat

Birdwatchers have been a much sought-after group during the lockdown.
For new feathers in the hat

BENGALURU: Birdwatchers have been a much sought-after group during the lockdown. With people now paying more attention to the birds and nature around them, curious souls aplenty are reaching out to those well-versed with ornithology to identify the winged creatures they spy. This increase in the interest for the subject led Early Bird, a city-based initiative run by Nature Conservation Foundation, to launch a lockdown special series of webinars to help newbies learn more about birds. “Everyone has been indoors and the reduction in traffic and pollution has led many to observe the birds around them too,” says project manager Garima Bhatia. “Birds are also the easiest way to connect to wildlife since they are everywhere,” she says. 

So far, the team has conducted six sessions, where number of participants has varied from 100 to 260. And Bengalureans aren’t the only ones logging onto Zoom for this. “We once had an elderly couple from Dubai and someone from Bhutan participate too,” says Bhatia. Topics have ranged from an introduction to common birds and their calls, learning about them through sketching, behaviour and ecology of birds, and a non-competitive quiz as well.

Pic: Garima Bhatia
Pic: Garima Bhatia

“We saw 200 participants for that one,” says Bhatia, adding that the content is designed to be low on technicalities and high on engagement. “The lockdown has made people realise that we have a lot of nature around us that we haven’t paid attention to. So through these sessions, we aim to equip them with tools to get interested in knowing more,” she says. 

For mother and daughter Madhura Prasanna and Shreya Handhe, these sessions were a bonding activity, where each had a different takeaway. “We like the bird sketching activity. As an artist, I got to learn how to observe a bird’s form. My daughter, who is an avid bird watcher, has been observing them keenly since these sessions,” says Prasanna, adding, “Now, we also sit in our garden and sketch birds together.” The free-for-all series will go on till the end of lockdown, perhaps continuing afterwards as well. “It is a good way to reach out to people and requires minimum effort from our end,” explains Bhatia. 

Answer key:
1) Fiction
(2) Fiction
(3) Fact. Feathers can be of different types and not just flight feathers.
(4) Fiction. The yolk provides food for the growing baby bird.
(5) Fiction. Nests are mainly for laying eggs and raising the young. They are usually not used after the breeding season is over.
(6) Fiction. If you find a tiny nestling, try to put it back in the nest as soon as possible or leave it alone. Its parents may be nearby.

Quiz up
Test your knowledge on birds with some fun trivia from Early Bird’s recently-held quiz. Guess if the following statements are fact or fiction:
1. All bird eggs are white, 2. Hummingbirds are found in some parts of India, 3. All birds have feathers, 4. The egg yolk grows into a baby bird, 5.Most birds live in their nests year-round, 6. If you find a baby bird, you should try to feed it. 

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