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Call of the wild: These interactive posters are a perfect guide for amateur birders

Updated on: 13 September,2022 10:20 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Sukanya Datta |

Learn to identify your winged friends with these interactive posters that are perfect guides for amateur birders of all ages

Call of the wild: These interactive posters are a perfect guide for amateur birders

Poster of woodland and scrubland birds by Early Bird

Chirurr chirurr chirurr, a wide-eyed spotted owlet’s laughter rings in our ears, a hollow, singsong hoopoopoo of the Eurasian hoopoe calls out to us, while a little egret croaks away. We’re nowhere near a tree, a grassy land or a wetland, but these winged creatures are just a click and a call away, thanks to Early Bird’s interactive posters. The posters, that span five categories and habitats, are the ideal way to nudge yourself or your little one to familiarise yourselves with the many birds that abound around us.

Birds around human habitation. Pics Courtesy/Early BirdBirds around human habitation. Pics Courtesy/Early Bird

A part of Nature Conservation Foundation, Early Bird is a Bengaluru-based initiative that creates innovative, open access and multilingual learning tools for beginner birders. Garima Bhatia, head, Early Bird, shares that the not-for-profit venture took shape to bring children closer to local Indian birds. So far, they have developed a host of accessible resources including a set of 40 flashcards on 40 common birds of India, foldable booklets or pocket guides catering to different regions of India including Maharashtra, DIY art activities and tutorials, and print posters of birds.  

Screengrab of the poster depicting a house crow and its call. Pic Courtesy/Rajneesh SuvarnaScreengrab of the poster depicting a house crow and its call. Pic Courtesy/Rajneesh Suvarna

The interactive posters are an engaging version of the print ones that can be downloaded for free, or purchased as prints from their website. “If you go to government schools and spot the charts or posters of wildlife that they have in the classrooms, you are likely to find giraffes and kangaroos. You are unlikely to spot local species. So, we started creating posters on local birds that were meant for display in school classrooms,” Bhatia informs us. 

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Wetland birdsWetland birds

These interactive versions open up sketches of different habitats with various colourful birds dotting the landscape. One can choose from five categories — birds around us, wetland birds, woodland and scrubland birds, grassland and farmland birds, and birds around human habitation. Click on a species and a pop-up window with a description box appears, along with a sound file that plays the bird’s call. One can opt to learn more about the birds through the embedded online database eBird. This writer thoroughly enjoyed the cleverly drafted trivia blurbs that appear when one taps on the birds. For instance, the friendly house crow’s description read: “I like to live close to humans as I have a special liking for the food that people eat. In doing so, I help clean up your garbage.” 

Screengrab of grey-headed swamphen. Pic courtesy/Garima BhatiaScreengrab of grey-headed swamphen. Pic courtesy/Garima Bhatia

With nine different languages to boot, the resource comes in handy for both kids and adults, like this sometimes-birder who struggles to identify the winged creatures that often visit her window grille. The category-wise breakdown also serves as a nifty guide for when you’re visiting a particular habitat, be it a wetland or farmland. 

Garima BhatiaGarima Bhatia

While kids are more receptive to all things nature, Bhatia points out that the resources draw birders of all ages. “As children, we have a natural affinity towards nature; it’s beaten out of us in the process of education that is classroom or indoor-based. You lose that sense of wonder over time. But all of our material is appropriate for not just kids but any beginner birder. The language is child-friendly but not childish,” Bhatia summarises.

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