The Thrills of Bird Watching

Category: Written by Nerella Bharat / 10:51 PM
Bird watching is one of the most peaceable pursuits. It is full of adventures, rewards and disappointments. The author, Salim Ali, says the bird watching is a thrilling activity. The three kinds of thrills of bird watching are extracting clues, following them step by step and arriving at the confirmation of facts. He says that in every colony of Baya Weaver birds, a number of abandoned half-built are seen

The discovery of the author: The author discovered the art of the male birds in constructing nests. The male Baya weaver bird selects a tree to hang its retort shaped nests. Several male birds build together in a colony. At a particular stage in the construction female birds arrive with a great noise from the welcoming male birds. They visit nest after nest to inspect the workmanship. They approve some nests and abandon some nests. The approved nest will be built by the male bird with a long entrance tube. The female bird lays eggs in it and brings up the family.

The thrilling experiences of the author: When the author was on his way to Lake Manasarovar, he saw a tiny bird on the top of a bush. He took a step back forgetting that he was standing on the edge of an abyss. If he had moved a little bit more, he would he have rolled down into the abyss. When he was going through dense tall grass he had a glimpse of the head of a tusker elephant coming down the same path from the opposite direction. He turned to flee as fast as he could but fortunately the elephant had not noticed his presence.

The author says that there are two circumstances whihc can cause an elephant to be particularly dangerous. They are (a) When there is stampede of a frightened herd of elephants and (b) when an elephant come upon at close quarters with a wild elephant or a female elephant with a calf.

1. The writer gives examples of three kinds of thrills in bird - watching. What are they? (Or)
What does Salim Ali say are the three kinds of thrills in bird watching?
In what ways can bird watching be a thrilling experience?
(Mar 92, 2006, Sept.96) 

Dr. Salim Ali says that ornithology as a hobby or profession does not lack in excitements and thrills. The thrills are different from the thrill of more conventional adventures as this hobby is one of the most peaceable pursuits of the outdoors. The thrill of bird watching lies in ferreting clues. The next step is to follow these clues step by step. In the final analysis the discovery many amount to a confirmation of a fact or facts or it may be the discovery of a hunch that one has just obtained as a mere suspicion.

2. Why is bird watching a thrilling activity? Describe two to of Salim Alli's thrilling experiences of bird watching? (March 99, Sept.99) According to Dr. Salim Ali, bird watching, considered to be a peaceable outdoor sport, is not lacking in excitements and thrills albeit of a different sort. According to him the excitement lies in ferreting out facts which from clues to be followed up, step, which ultimately lead to the discovery or confirmation of facts.
Salim Ali describe two such thrilling experiences of bird watching. The first one was when he was going to Lake Manasarovar, Mr. Kailas, when he happened to see a tiny bird called yellow napped Yuhina. He took a step backwards towards the edge of a cliff, to have a clearer look at the bird. This would have made him fall down the cliff if he had gone any further. Luckily he was saved by the porter.

On another occasion he had, by chance, observed the nesting and breeding habits of bay weaver birds and how the male birds enticed female birds into courtship.
On another occasion, in Feb. 1946 Omar and Ali wee passing through a narrow animal track in Cochin Forest with forest guard. Suddenly he saw taller elephants striding down the same path from the opposite direction. He ran for his life motioning Omar to do the same.

3. What is the term used to describe a person who makes a scientific study of birds? A person who makes a scientific study of birds is called an Ornithologist.

4. Why does the writer use certain words like polygamist, happy husband, wives, families etc., in connection with the bird?While describing the male Baya bird, Salim Ali used works like polygamist, happy husband, families etc., as they are are all nearer to the habits of human beings in society. He wrote humorously just to create interest in the public.

5. What are salim Ali's findings about the breeding habits of Baya weaver bird?The male Baya bird selects babool or palm tree and builds half of the nest and waits for the arrival of a female bird. If female bird approves that nest, it gets into the nest and then the male bird completes the rest of it. They become mates and give rise to generation. The male bird begins to build another nest. Thus the male bird may get four or five wives one after another.

6. Why were some nests made by the male baya weaver bird rejected?The male baya or weaver bird build nests in babul or palm trees prior to courting a partner. When the female bayas arrive at the colony of newly built nests, which at this stage are half built, they examine each nest for its workmanship. During this time, the male birds clings on to the outside of their nests, excitedly flapping their wings, as if in invitation to the female, at the same time keenly awaiting the verdict. If the female bird is satisfied with the construct of the nest she takes possession of the nest and the advances of the male owner of the nest. The male thereafter begins the task of completing the nest. As some nest are thus left unapproved the male baya abandons them and begins to make a fresh one instead, to woo a female. Thus in every baya colony there are a few abandoned nests of this kind. It is erroneous to believe that these half built structures are used by male bayas to swing from and sing lullabies to the incubating female baya nearby.

7. In 'The Thirlls of Bird Watching', the author says that in every colony of Bay Weaver birds, a number of abandoned half - built nests are seen. What was the popular explanation for his? What did the author discover? Male baya birds build nests. The female birds visit the nests in a group, amidst great noise and excitement from the welcoming males. They inspect the workmanship of the nests. They select some and reject some. The popular explanation was that the half-built nests were for the use of the male to swing himself and sing love songs.

8. According to Salim Ali, what two circumstances can an elephant to be particularly dangerous? i) It should be a rogue elephant or
ii) It must be a female with a small calf.

9. While describing his adventures the writer also gives graphic description of nature. Why does he do so? Birds live in natural habitats of certain trees. While watching the birds, we can observe beautiful nature also. So to get a clear picture, Salim Ali describes nature also.

10. Refer to para 6, Why does the writer does the writer describe the Cochin Forest Tram way so elaborately? How does it connect with next paragraph?The tram way was acclaimed to be the cheapest run railway system in the country, because the workers were paid low salary and it worked on fuel wood. It was laid for transporting logs from the forest. It was connected with the next paragraph in a suitable and probable way. He described the trobles they faced in their travel which was considered to be adventutous.

11. How can we expect the birds to have read the books and behave to the pattern? Why do you find them humorous? The author was describing a colony of birds to know about their breeding habits. Surprisingly he found that their behaviour was not in accordance with the account given by the earlier ornithologists in their books. So, he sarcastically remarks that perhaps the birds have not read those books. It is a good example of Salim Ali's humour.

12. Give brief account of the Cochin Forest Tramway?It was the cheapest run railway system in the country. It was originally laid by Cochin Forest Department for transporting logs from the interior. It worked on a combined system of wire ropes, pulleys, weights and counter weights. It ran fuel wood cut from the surroundings. Normally it did not carry passengers. But when a forest officer on duty or a V.I.P was travelling up the line, an iron wagon with chairs placed within was attached. It was later dismantled to make way for a hydro electric project.

13. When was the Cochin Forest Tramway dismantled? What was established there?Cochin Forest Tramway was dismantled in February 1946, to make way for the gigantic Parambikulam hydro-electric project with its huge dam and reservoir.
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