Share...dont share...the debate continues.
Recently, another unusual bird (the Oriental Pratincole) was sighted in Bangalore, and its location kept “secret” (that is, known only to the elite few!) for “conservation” reasons. Several of us, including
rued the fact that birding in Bangalore is becoming more “elitist”, with only a few being privy to where the “rare” birds are. The rest of us are supposed to be happy looking at our CKMP (Crow Kite Mynah Pigeon). Vinaya Kumar Thimmappa, who had sighted the Western Reef Egret, then asked me thus:
On Mon, May 21, 2012 at 1:15 AM, Vinaya Kumar Thimmappa firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
<<Western Reef Egret>> On a lighter note (we saw this bird) and hence this question popped up. Did you some one you asked did not disclose this location ?
In other words, was I sour-graping because I was not being told the location of this (or any othe recently discovered) bird?
My response to him:
Ha, ha, Vinaya, I know better than to ask for the location! Have I asked you? (I know you saw it.) No, it’s not a case of sour grapes…in fact, the reverse, as I have given the location of various birds to many expert birders, after discovering them by sheer accident (eg . Indian Eagle Owl at Ramnagara or Turahalli.) I can confidently say, go look in Valley School, you will find the Indian Eagle Owl. This does not guarantee that the person will see it!
I am a well-known “L-birder”….I have neither the knowledge nor the scientific background to quality. :) Neither will I ask where the Pratincole, or the Emu, or the Mute Swan, the Roc, or the Phoenix, are to be found. Most birds will, for me, be found only within the covers of my Grimmskipp , Salam Salim, Pam Aunty, or Kashmirjack. You think I will go on a ship-without-a-toilet to see pelagic birds? The answer is, Gua—no!
We’ve already had the hilarious situation, in Lalbagh, of a totally non-bird interested jogger coming up and telling us, “Some crows are harassing some bird which I don’t know, can you help?” It proved to be the Mottled Wood Owl. No humans (birders or non-birders) were troubling it…but it was the ever-present mobsters, the crows.The Mottled Wood Owls, in spite of the Lalbagh crowds, have been at their location off and on over the years.
My birding friends here in St.Louis, Mark Glenshaw, Chris Ferree, Mary Dueren (Audubon Society) and Danny Brown (Wildlife photographer and conservation scientist) , freely share the location of birds and animals in Forest Park, with me. That doesn’t mean that I can see them all the time! In fact, in the heights and the thick foliage of the Cottonwood trees, even when Mark is showing me where the huge female Great Horned Owl is sitting…it takes me several minutes to spot her. It took me a week of scouting the right area before I saw the mink family, and the little baby mink came up to my feet and looked up at me!
Oh well…there are valid things about both points of view (share and don’t share) and ne’er the twain shall meet…unfortunately, birding is becoming a “I-know-so-and-so-who-will-tell-me-where-x-bird-is-to-be-found” kind of activity. This is why I like my UGS (Usual Gang of Suspects)…we are a happy-go-lucky lot who are as thrilled to see an Agama in front of the Udupi Banashree Darshini as we are to see a Crested Hawk Eagle at Nandi Hills! We don’t want the secret birds……where the ordinary birds are, is secret enough for us most of the time!