The most essential tool in bird-watching is a field guide that contains information that will guide and help bird-watchers, especially beginners, to identify a bird. The guide usually contains useful data and material on the description of a bird combined with an illustration, the area of occurrence and the taxonomy, that makes identification easier. Though there are a lot of field guides in the market for the Birds of India, a region specific book, pertaining to the birds that occur in our particular region, is long awaited.
The Young Indians (Yi) Coimbatore chapter, in association with Coimbatore Nature Society (CNS), recently launched a book called “Birds of Coimbatore” – a field guide with live photographs, on the birds that occur in the region combined with bird profiles, ecosystems and landscapes that support them.
The book contains a recorded 321 species of birds, residents and visitors. The book also documents the birding hotspots located in the district like Ponnuthu, Kallar, Siruvani, Anaikatty, Topslip, Valparai, Narasipuram etc.,
The book starts off with an impressive cover page, featuring the appropriate image of the Emerald Dove – the State bird of Tamilnadu.
The foreword by Mr. Melkani (Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, TN) and Dr. Pramod Nair (senior scientist, SACON) briefly outlining the perks of bird-watching sets the tone right for what’s to follow.
The foreword is followed by a brief description of the Ecosystems and landscapes of Coimbatore that play a vital role in hosting our wonderful birds. Understanding the ecosystems and terrain that form the habitat of the bird plays a crucial role in helping one identify a bird. For ex – mostly, the water birds that occur in wetlands don’t occur in the forested woodlands where passerine birds occur. Since the birds are an excellent and the most visible indicators of the health of our ecosystems, the book will not only initiate beginners into bird-watching but also inspire them to contribute towards conservation.
After a brief note on the history and biological uses of birds, the book goes onto present in a clear, concise format the profile of each bird with its taxonomy, behavior and habitat –information and cues that are important to understand, identify and differentiate the birds.
The profiles of birds also carries with it live images contributed by bird-watchers and photographers from around the city. The color codes of their names clearly indicate the migratory status of the bird without having to check the map.
The mentioning of the websites for online sourcing for and the additional information provided in the FAQ section is of immense help to beginners as well as veterans. The section also contains illustrations the help differentiate and identify the raptors – the hardest and often mistaken for identity by birders.
Inclusion of Tamil names is a brilliant idea and will help improve local knowledge.
However, inclusion of the size and the comparative size of the birds would have given a fresh yardstick for amateurs to identify.
The commendable feature of the book is, it is a result of the collaborative effort of the citizens of Coimbatore who are active participants in the bird-watching activities conducted in the region. The book is a brilliant example of a citizen science project that proves public participation is key to create awareness and contribute towards conservation.
If you are looking to indulge in a fantastic, mind-refreshing hobby or an amateur bird-watcher, this book will motivate, inspire and educate you. Happy Birding! 🙂
Available now at –