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One of the remarkable things about birdwatching around Hampi is that farmers have started putting hides in their backyards. This was the first time I used one. It is change from trying to make a minimal impact on wildlife; the farmers put out feed to attract birds. I’m not sure I like the idea; because it makes birds depend on feed provided by humans. But once in there, the way I looked at birds changed. Instead of trying hard to be inconspicuous, trying to locate a bird, I sat invisibly inside the hide and watched the behaviour of birds feeding outside.

I realized that I don’t have to stick to stills. What I was seeing required videos. So here is one of the very pretty Brahminy Starling (Sturnia pagodarum, also called Brahminy Myna). In the wild I’ve only seen small flocks of them foraging together. Here they didn’t seem to mind feeding along with sparrows, waxbills, and munias. I guess the abundance of food that is laid out for them changes their behaviour. It was good to sit in a hide, but, on balance, I do prefer to peel off those covers and go back to the older way of watching,

By I. J. Khanewala

I travel on work. When that gets too tiring then I relax by travelling for holidays. The holidays are pretty hectic, so I need to unwind by getting back home. But that means work.


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