Know your birding friend: Purna Bdr Rai

My birding journey started four years ago (2017) when my cousin (Mr. Sancha Rai~Teacher) introduced me to the Birds of Bhutan Face Book page group. Ever since I have never looked back in this beautiful journey of Bird Watching except some flashback of catapult business in the cowboy days. It was kind of hunter to hermit way of my journey for my personal growth and contribution to the society at large. My colleagues were surprised to see me take this hobby as a mining man but my avid birder friends were amazed to see me join them. Their company and guidance helped me identify many species and its habitat till date. My dream of adding at least one new species record to Bhutan’s Birds List was fulfilled when I photographed Black-headed Cuckooshrike (Lalage melanoptera) in Nyoenpaling (Pugli B), Phuntshopelri, Samtse on 19th May, 2021. I have also added several new lists to the Birds of Samtse like Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) to the latest sighting of Dark-sided Thrush (Zoothera marginata) from Pendenling (Gomtu) which is also a third record to Bhutan as per the experts. Some of my bird’s photographs in the book- A Guide to the Birds of Samtse, 1st edition by Mani Wangdi & Tashi Tshering and a paper on Samtse’s Song Birds (An Annotated Bird Checklist for the Selected Regions of Samtse recorded between 1 September and 31 December 2020) with our team DBA- (Dragon Birding Amigos) are my achievements so far in this worthy journey. The birds are most fascinating species and dwell closest to human habitat. Birding is simple and lively activity. We don’t require expansive cameras or other gadgets. Walk around your gardens, you will see birds. Peep through your windows and doors, you will see birds. Drive a car to your office, you will see birds. Close your eyes and you will hear their songs from morning to dusk. Its presence has cultural and ecological significance in the respective regions. Their contribution in pest control to pollination to seed dispersal is a paramount importance for balanced ecosystem where everyone of must us at least know about it. A birder has lot more things to know and appreciate the benefits of bird watching. Thus, birding has not only helped me in its scope but beyond its purpose to a better and meaningful life as a good human being. I could spend my time in positive ways both by learning and being close to the nature often. It is one way of mindfulness in simple way to watch birds and be in the present moment. I can now tell my children the real stories of the birds to protect them and to conserve the nature. We must encourage our younger generations to know more about nature than simply the physical and technological world.

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