Ever since the country went into lockdown, the empty streets have fallen silent, but bird calls fill the air. Birders in Hyderabad are overjoyed, as they’re able to spot many species, literally at their doorstep.
Every morning, businessman Rajeev Khandelwal rushes through his chores so that he can take up position on the balcony of his home in Kukatpally. He’s trying to catch a glimpse of his favourite birds, the Purple Sunbird and the Coppersmith Barbet. “There’s no greater joy during this lockdown than sighting birds from your rooftops, balconies and terraces. Earlier, we had to venture into wooded patches and lakesides to spot birds, but balcony birding is very interesting,” explains Rajeev, who is also General Secretary of Hyderabad Birding Pals. The 36-year-old is able to identify birds through their different calls. He says he has sighted around 25 different species of resident birds, whose songs were drowned out by noise pollution.
Wooing winged visitors
Many birders now have the chance to flaunt their bird-calling skills and spot various feathered denizens. For Fawaz Syed, an interior designer, who has been updating bird species he sights in an e-bird app, states that birding during lockdown is a surreal experience.
He shares his excitement at spotting one of the smallest birds in India, the Pale-billed Flowerpecker, from the balcony at his Sheikpet residence. “It was great to realise that nature can be brought to our homes if we push ourselves to improve the habitats of birds with feeders on the balconies,” the 25-year-old beams.
Building a bird database
Sreeram Reddy, a software engineer and a resident of Begumpet, counts many bird species during the one hour he spends in the morning and evening on his terrace.
“The best part is that I am able spot birds like Asian Koel regularly from my balcony which I generally find only when I go to the outskirts,” says Sreeram who is the Administrator of Hyderabad Birding Pals. Around 100 different bird species have so far been reported in and around Hyderabad city since the lockdown,” the 30-year-old says, adding, “We are planning to create a database for a Bird Atlas of Hyderabad City for future reference.”
A bird’s eye view of bird behaviour
Srinivas Mulagala, a techie who resides at Miyapaur, says he has been studying how birds build nests in secluded spots and carry food to the nestlings. For him, spotting sparrows in large number has been one of the most rewarding aspects of the lockdown.
“Birds like the Purple Sunbird, Red-vented Bulbul, Indian Robin, Pied Bush Chat, etc., which are usually seen only near lakes and forests, can now be seen at close quarters and in large numbers” enthuses Srinivas who has so far sighted 51 bird species since the lockdown began.