This whole business of identifying birds...

July 28, 2006


Mohan took a picture of a disssstant bird at the farmhouse, and I told my friends, after my brief look at the bird (not the photograph) that it was a Shikra. Then after I downloaded the picture on to my laptop, I had a doubt, and asked if it was a Peregrine Falcon. He said it was, and I was grinning all over my (stupid) face...then said it might be a Eurasian Hobby; (yes, that's a bird, not a stamp collection or a carpentry project by an Afghan or a Serbian!) That brought on a different stupid grin as I thought we might have made a rare sighting.... so I also asked a friend of mine, Abhijit Menon-Sen, in Delhi, what it was, and he emphatically said it was a Red-Necked Falcon, which wiped all the grins off my face!

….the debate went on a little while before Y and K agreed that A was right…if this is what happens to such experienced birders…what chance do I have???  K,A,Y….three different id’s, not to mention my own wrong one…that’s not O-KAY! ;-)

Well, A tells me that raptors (birds of prey) are amongst the most difficult to id. That figures…all the birds mentioned above look quite, quite alike to me….ok, there ARE some small differences, but…it’s so difficult to spot all those minutiae when the bird is far away, and also there for just a minute or two…..

Sigh. Learning something new is such a great thing…but it can also be frustrating when people half my age have skills that are taking me forever to acquire. However, my name is Percy Vere….