6 Reasons to Start Bird Watching

“A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.”

Chinese Proverb

They’re all around us. Fluttering about in the clear blue backdrop, hovering over mushroomed canopies and breaking into complex songs every now and then, there is an inherent pull of birdwatching which may well be the workings of our inner alchemy or rather a latent empathy with nature just waiting to be stimulated.  While we do hear them in the background score to our daily lives, it’s seldom that we pause to get a glimpse to see what they’re all about, but as they say that once you’re ‘bitten by the bird watching bug’, the world around you opens up in remarkable ways you probably wouldn’t have imagined. In fact, it is this seemingly trivial hobby of birdwatching that inspired a Japanese engineer by the name of Eiji Nakatsu to reinvent the Shinkansen Bullet Train, by simply observing kingfishers dive into water.

If pursuing biomimicry isn’t reason enough. Then here are some more reasons why you should most definitely consider birdwatching –

  1. Birds are all around us

With over 10000 species of birds around the world, every nook and corner has these fascinating beings frolicking about as they burst into a myriad of activities. One doesn’t necessarily have to travel to tropical rainforests to witness them but rather cultivating a gentle stillness in one’s garden or a public park is enough to observe the lives of the feathered denizens around us. Even a drive through the countryside will get you to encounter species that you may not have seen. While it might be a bit of challenge to search for wildlife in close quarters to human beings, birds can certainly be seen in most places.

  1. It cultivates mindfulness

We’re constantly on the go, strutting about our mundane tasks, getting to work amidst heavy traffic, packing groceries on our way back home and tending to a sea of people through the course of our day. Birding is one of those pleasurable passions that allows you to slow down and observe the happenings of nature, one breath at a time. It encourages you to be present in what is happening ‘here and now’, something most of us struggle to tune into. But the birds of our world make it far easier for us to dive into pockets of stillness simply by listening to their beautifully crafted songs or by observing the mesmerizing assemblage of different colors that form their striking plumages. Watching birds interact with each other and their environment is an enjoyable practice that draws our attention to the present moment in a way that is almost effortless.

  1. It brings us closer to nature

Again, I can’t stress enough that we’ve become indoctrinated to operate as urban creatures, after all it is where many of us earn our living. But having said that, it is important to disconnect from the concrete jungle every now and then and return to nature. Recent studies too have indicated that in order for us to feel invigorated and revitalized, a healthy dose of stepping out into the wilderness is essential for our wellbeing. With countless species waiting to be discovered across many pristine habitats of the world, birding ensures that you forge a strong connection to the natural world, one step at a time.

  1. It’s an inexpensive pastime

All you really need is a pair of good binoculars and a field guide. With that, you’re well on your way to ticking off checklists which will leave you with a sense of great fulfilment. If you further wish to enhance the pastime into a serious passion, then there are various books you could invest in that cover several aspects of ornithology. Add to that, a good camera with a telephoto zoom lens will help you document what you see in the field paving the way for you to become a seasoned birder.

  1. Creates a drive to see more species

Once you develop a deeper fascination for birds, you will be consumed by the urge to seek out more unique species. This will compel you to travel to places that you may haven’t heard of, covering a mosaic of terrains and ecological havens. Soon enough, you’ll be planning a trip to different parts of the world, flipping through your field guild in search of some elusive species that very few are lucky to see. This new found appreciation soon begins to reside in every waking moment of your life as you start paying very little attention to conversations with fellow humans and more towards birds chirping in the distance as you engage in an inner monologue trying to identify what species it very well could be. 

  1. It encourages conservation

As you spiral deeper into the world of birds, you begin to understand that they are an integral part of a series of processes that lay the foundation for the web of life. This raises questions as you probe into the patterns of nature. As your curiosity and appreciation for the field expands, you begin to navigate many different topics pertaining to ecology that broaden your perspective about the natural world. It is here, that we realise that we are too a part of this formless web of life that is crucial for our own existence. The interconnections between birds and other forms of life are essential for the proper functioning of the ecological systems which benefit us in many ways. It is this phenomenon that maintains the homeostasis of our planet which provides us with cleaner air, water and food. Also, by visiting these habitats, not only do we celebrate the diversity of avian life around us but we also help the community living in these remote areas by creating sustainable job opportunities that aid in preservation of species.

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