deponti (deponti) wrote,

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Birding and Classical Music


One would think birding and classical music are mutually exclusive. For one, a person has to be perfectly quiet; for the other, sing out from his very being... I enjoy the Sunday morning concerts at Lalbagh but am also aware that many birders are waiting for the "disturbance" to end so that they can start their birdwatching without the music scaring the birds away!

But recently, there has been a debate about different approaches to birding, with some people advocating the serious, scientific approach and others wanting to spot as many different birds as possible ("bird-tickers"!)...and I was struck by the similarity....

I would like to draw the parallel between the way birding is evolving and the way many of our traditional fine arts are evolving. For example, purists may feel that classical music is becoming commercialized and artistes and audiences  are only concerned with recognition and identification, not real enjoyment of the music itself...and the youngsters who like fusion music may say that the new way keeps them in touch with classical music! So I suppose we will always have all the different approaches to birding, from the deeply committed scientific approach to the casual, "what-bird-shall-I-see-next" approach of the weekend birder. To me, any approach that gets someone off the couch in front of the TV into the open air, looking for our feathered friends, is likely to lead to an appreciation of Nature and all that she surrounds us with, be it flora or fauna....and that might lead to an awareness of the importance of preserving nature as well.. 
 As a classical musician, I do sometimes  involve youngsters in a lighter fashion first, teaching them small songs to hold their interest, showing them how much of our film music is based on classical music, and then try to bring them to see the great treasure that our classical music is; I am sure the same approach is what many birders use with beginners.
Yes, I may use Inskipp (and borrow the Ripley which one lucky --er, in this case, that IS the right word, kalyan and noelladsa!-- friend has got)...but I am still amazed at the observations of ornithologists like Salim Ali who had very little technology to help them, and who devotedly , and scientifically, documented their findings. If we can take the best of the old and the new, that would be a great thing to do.
One thing I do find about experienced birders whom I have come across, in the short time I have become interested, is their keenness to share with newcomers; it is a great encouragement to people like me.(That sounds rather politically correct and everything-is-dew-and-roses; but I really HAVE found every expert birder/wildlifer I have met to be very helpful; not one of them has flaunted their knowledge. In fact, people like Dr M B Krishna always make  the time, Sunday after Sunday, to explain to a  new set of youngsters, how to begin with birding.)
Tags: birding, music

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