I’d been talking about the location of a bird which I found by accident. When I posted about it, a friend asked,
“Did you ask some one, and did they not disclose the location ?”

In other words, was I sour-graping because I was not being told the location of this (or any other recently discovered) bird?

My response to him:

Ha, ha, I know better than to ask for the location of any recently-discovered bird, O expert birder! 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 Lal Bagh, a large public park in Bangalore, you will find the Spotted Owlet. This does not guarantee that the person will see it.

I am a well-known “L-B”…. a Learner-Birder.I have neither the  knowledge nor the scientific background to qualify as an expert 🙂 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”(Grimmett and Inskipp) , “Salim Uncle” (Salim Ali), “Pam Ram” (Pamela Rasmussen) , or “Kashmir Jack” (Krys Kazmierczak). 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, Jim Wilson, 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… about both points of view (share and don’t share) have their validity….disturbance to the birds is a ver real fear.  Ne’er the twain shall meet…

Unfortunately, birding is becoming a secretive, “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 a House Sparrow 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!

Cheers, Deepa.