Book: A photographic guide to the Birds of India including Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Pakistan and Bangladesh
Author: Amano Samarpan
Publisher: Wisdom Tree
Price: Rs 395
Posted on Mumbai Mirror on Monday, December 13, 2010 at 04:12:02 PM
Never mind the long title, just the picture of a couple of Sarus Cranes 'craning'their necks makes you pick this one. And you don't even have to know your birds for that!
What makes Nepali meditation enthusiast and ornithologist Amano Samarpan's guide to the birds of the Indian subcontinent a handy companion on nature treks and trails are the photographs. A darter drying its wings, a sea eagle in flight, a group of spotbilled pelicans tending to themselves on top of a tree, a painted stork that's about to land, a common iora hanging upside down – Samarpan’s avian friends look like characters in a fable.
If you are an avid birder, you would probably know all the 150 birds listed in this book - their features, habitats and behaviour. But if you're not and just thinking of getting a little familiar with a few feathered beings, this is as good as it gets. You find a bird, make a note of its characteristics - colour, size, beak, feathers, tail, legs (a pair of powerful binoculars will come handy) and calls and look for the corresponding photograph in the book. You will most likely find a match since Samarpan has covered most of the breeding residents and winter visitors.
The author has done well to pack in crisp text describing the birds' features and behaviour, where you can find them and how you may be able to identify them. He also gives you tips on birdwatching - the photographic equipment and binoculars you will need, books and internet sources where you can avail of information about the birds and places in India where you will be able to sight birds - while cautioning you about self-styled ornithologists and guides who may not know enough. And most importantly, he advises you to, "not compromise the birds one is viewing. One may have travelled many miles to see a particular bird but if it fails to respond to calls and does not want to come out of undergrowth then leave it. One has at least learnt something about the behaviour of that bird."
A stepping stone for those who are interested in serious birdwatching, A Photographic Guide to the Birds of India including Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Pakistan and Bangladesh is handy, compact and brilliant. And if that's not reason enough for you to read this one, Samarpan's solution to the ancient chicken-and-egg problem surely is!