Bird Watching in Delhi

As a child...

I used to often hover around boards in parks which gave away details about the birds that can be spotted in the area. With my “Mini-binoculars” that I got free with a box of chocolate as a child, I used to look around very diligently, trying to spot at least a few of the birds that the board displayed. I couldn’t – Of course my equipment was flawed, but can’t say my techniques were very refined either. With time, I totally forgot about this fun little weekend activity of mine and my bird watching stint didn’t pick up much beyond that.

A few years later my school took us to Sultanpur Bird sanctuary on a trip, where I actually got around to seeing a few birds. I clearly remember how excited I was to see the birds through the binoculars and the only thing I wanted at that moment was to own better devices to see them.

In my twenties...

someone figured that it would be a good idea to gift me a beginner’s binoculars and I decided to pick up this activity again. At first, It was incredibly disheartening to see the birds fly away or never reveal themselves to me at all. I was following all textbook rules – Not being noisy, not wearing extremely bright clothing, carrying a good pair of binoculars and researching on the habitat. However, a tip by my friend, who has been doing this for years as a hobby really helped. He suggested I stop being too focused on finding birds, and instead just let them be and avoid any sudden movements, be more fluid with my own movement, and just allow the interaction to unfold. If they deem fit, they’ll make an appearance. And it worked. From not being able to spot anything beyond the common birds – we saw treepies, magpies, drongos, pied mynas, kingfishers, cranes, Ibis, egrets, and storks.

All it took was the right intention, knowing where to spot them, and patience.

Bird watching for me...

is a hobby activity at most, focussed more on observation than conservation but I feel such activities must be made common again. When we talk of nature today, it is usually the trees inside colonies (usually amidst cemented surroundings) or the many pigeons and strays that come to our minds. When one goes out of their routine and makes an effort to find more of nature, they are forced to observe more trees, forced to see what attracts and distracts a bird, forced to observe the natural world around them to catch a glimpse of another bird. These seemingly simple interactions will then hopefully form a contrast between the way nature is seen and how it can be when left undisturbed. Nature is beautiful in countless ways, but sometimes we need to state the obvious to make a point.

When more people participate in activities like these, they realize what we truly have in Delhi NCR and how being busy in our daily routines, we sometimes tend to neglect and ignore issues surrounding “nature”. It is incredibly important to interact with nature in a responsible manner. It makes us value what we have and gives us an insight into what we might lose if we aren’t vigilant enough and keeping authorities on their toes. Delhi has a fair share of areas where biodiversity can thrive, and we must keep their protection in mind along with every other development goal we keep in mind for the city, or better still prioritize it. 

Photographs: V.Khanna

About the author

Shivani is a 4th year college student who enjoys spending her time in nature 
and likes to engage in conversations regarding the environment. 

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