Friday, May 10, 2013

'பறவைகள்: அறிமுகக் கையேடு' நூலைப் பற்றி 'டைம்ஸ் ஆஃப் இந்தியா' பத்திரிகையில் வந்த செய்தி

Field guide in Tamil to assist bird watchers

CHENNAI: Can you identify the birds that fly across your horizon every day? If you can't, here's a book for you. 'Paravaigal: Arimigakkaiyedu' (Birds: Introductory field guide) has photographs and brief accounts of 88 birds commonly found in Tamil Nadu. They are mostly seen in the plains and some in hilly and coastal regions.

The guide also carries 166 photographs of these birds taken by famous wildlife photographers. "We have plenty of good books available on birds in English. What we need is local language guides so that bird watching will catch up among non-English reading people. Language should not be a barrier to gain knowledge about birds. That is the main objective behind producing a field guide like this," said P Jeganathan, author of the book, who is a scientist with the nature conservation foundation's rainforest research station in Valparai.

Since most of the ornithology books are in English, it's difficult for many to read and understand them. The guide is aimed at those who are fascinated by birds and want to know more about them. It covers common species that are found in plains, including wetland birds. The photographs are taken in different angles to show plumage and posture of the birds.

"We have, as far as possible, used common names of birds that are widely used by the local people. For each species, brief descriptions of habitat, ecology and behaviour are also given," said Jeganathan. History of Indian ornithology is another attraction of the book.

Even though there are a number of books on birds in Tamil, it was in 2002 that the first field guide for birds in Tamil was published. Titled 'Tamilnattu Paravaigal' (Birds of Tamil Nadu), the book, written by Dr K Ratnam, covered 328 birds found in the state.

So why a field-guide of just 88 birds now? "We stopped at 88 because we need to look at the size of the book. It is more like a pocket field guide. One can carry it in one's shirt pocket while going for bird-watching," he said.

Published by Cre-A publications, the guide also lists various Indian research institutions, including those that offer courses on ornithology. To help birdwatchers, there is also a list of other field guides on Indian birds, tips on bird watching and bird identification using calls, plumage and nests. There are brief sections on bird migration, conservation, importance of birds and list of bird sanctuaries.

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