I was exclaiming over the beautiful view when something moved a few feet ahead of me, something so well camouflaged, just the color of the soil and rock it was seated on that I had no idea it was there. Three or four of them scattered in different directions and then I forgot the view. I was seeing my first grey francolin, though it was would remain a mystery till I got back home.
I had never seen a one till then, and yet I recognized it right away as one. The time spent going through pictures of birds at the bird group on Facebook had apparently paid off. The breed of true and pure (don’t we have them in every field?) birders will, of course, balk at this method of mine of identifying a bird. One has to notice the characteristics of the bird, the habitat, the way it perches, listen to its call et al, and based on that, look them up in the reference book before arriving at a conclusion.
Today’s breed of birders are not like those of yore, I read one of the pure-breed old hand thunder. They know nothing of identifying birds the right way. Instead, they take the easy way out and ask for the id of others. Blah, blah, blah…. I couldn’t help but laugh. He meant well, I know. But somehow pompousness always makes me laugh. Indeed his way is the correct way of going about things if you are a serious enthusiast. But what these types (in all fields) forget is that NOT ALL of us are aspiring (or can be expected) to be at the same level as another.
There are different types of birders. They range from the extremely passionate and serious enthusiasts who stick strictly to old methods of identifying birds to ones who simply love the winged thingamabobs in a vague sort of way and would love to know their names and not being bothered enough to look it up ask the nearest experienced fellow to help out. They come in all shapes, sizes, colors and levels of interest. Can you blame them for that? No, not really, methinks. We have room for all kinds of on earth.
Many of the words used in identifying birds are not easy for everyone to remember or follow. So such as them may gloss over the daunting words and instead, opt for easier ways like asking, ‘Pliss to tell which bird this is, thanx’. The serious ones despair of such requests (akin to living off someone else without making an effort) and make snarky comments. Yet others fire off a series of questions, a la quiz master doing the fast round on a television show, to make the person arrive at an answer by deduction. Then there are those who generously supply answers with no preconditions whatsoever. If I know it, I will tell you, is the style of functioning of the last set. Methinks all of them are okay in their own ways for the different levels of interest exhibited by learners.
Some of us know some songs, and sing in the bath, others sing at social gatherings at the request of friends, still others at local concerts. then there are those at the top of their field, singing professionally, sometimes teaching too. Just because someone who sings in the bathroom or at local concerts is curious about the name of the raaga of a particular song is no reason for the professional singer to come down on them and criticise their lack of knowledge and interest in music.
There are many ways to kindle interest in a topic and none of them start with, ‘Today’s generation goes about it the wrong way…’ This approach can certainly be used with ease to alienate and also kill interest. In any case, it would do well to always remember there are those who dive deep, others who prefer to skim and the many in between the two.
Pssst!1: Today is the First Born’s birthday. In case any of you would like to read what I have said about him, head here –> About the First Born.
Pssst!2: That’s a Grey Francolin.
The post has been updated to change the name of the bird (which I had got wrong) from sandgrouse to francolin.
©Shail Mohan 2016