Where do you live?
Mayyanad Village in Kollam District of Kerala.
What do you do?
I am a doctor.
When did you start watching birds?
Who would you consider your birding mentor?
It was Mr. Induchoodan’s book title ‘Keralathile Pakshikal’ (Birds of Kerala) by K. K. Neelakantan that helped me identify the birds in my early days of bird watching.
Please describe a memorable birding experience.
In 1998, there was a Pariah Kite (P Kite) nest and a Brahminy Kite (B Kite) nest near my house on two coconut trees, 50 meters apart. Each had two chicks. The P Kite chicks were a bit younger than the B Kite chicks that could fly a bit but were still mostly dependant on their parents for food.
One early morning (22 Feb 1998) while I was watching these birds I saw that both the father kites had done out. A little later the P Kite father brought back a big fat rat and gave it to mother P Kite to feed the chicks. The chicks noisily feasted on the rat and this caused the B Kite chicks to pester their mother for food. But the mother stood helplessly and waited for her mate to bring back food for their chicks. The P Kite again went out and came back with another big rat. This time the P Kite chicks were full and refused to eat the rat. So the P Kite kept moved to a nearby coconut leaf and waited with the rat under his talons. Meanwhile the hungry B Kite chicks continued to pester their mother for food. In desperation she flew to a leaf near the P Kite with the rat who made threatening gestures at her. The B Kite retreated to a leaf a bit further away from the P Kite watching and waiting. The B Kite chicks soon started pestering her again for food. The P Kite watched and then flew away leaving the rat on the coconut leaf. The B Kite took the rat and flew towards her nest with the chicks following closely. She then fed the rat to her chicks.
I was very surprised to see this behaviour of these birds of prey.
What is/are your favourite migrants?
The Brown-breasted Flycatcher
What is your favourite place to watch migrants?
Do you have any advice for beginning birdwatchers and naturalists?
If you keep a daily record of all the birds you will be surprised by what all you discover about them. When I started recording all the common birds daily, I found that the Pariah Kite also migrates in my area. They disappear from around here at the onset of the SW Monsoon and return only after around sixty days.
Why do you think people should care about birds and nature?
All living beings in this world depend on each other in one way or another. Man can not survive with just a few cultivated plants and a handful of domesticated animals. Moreover, Mother Nature gives us joy and happiness; she heals all our pain and distress; calms us when we are worried and angry; she teaches us compassion, tolerance and patience.
You can see Roopa V’s MigrantWatch reports here.