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Birds of Sirpur – A book review by Dev Kumar Vasudevan

This is a book which is a must have for all nature lovers and birders not only  in Indore and around but for anyone who is interested in knowing about a lake which was almost given up for dead before it was revived by a group of passionate nature lovers.  The success story of Sirpur Lake and Bird Sanctuary would be incomplete without a book like this which describes resident and migratory birds of the lake and its surrounds in detail.

Released in October 2012 by Sunita Narain of the Centre For Science and Environment, New Delhi,  Birds of Sirpur has described 130 species of birds in loving detail. Each and every photograph has been clicked in the Sirpur Lake and surrounding areas.  A White Breasted Kingfisher, for instance, can be seen almost everywhere in the countryside around Indore but the photograph used in the book is of one which has been clicked in the Sirpur area. Bhalu Mondhe, Kaustubh Rishi, Saleel Tambe and Praver Mourya have contributed an excellent set of photographs for this book.

The book has categorised birds into three groups – Water Birds (23 species), Wetland birds (41 species) and Tree birds (66 species).  A foreword by the eminent environmentalist and urban planner M N Buch adds value to the book. This former civil servant had in 1994 written to the Principal Secretary (Forests) drawing his attention to the plight of Sirpur.

Each of the 130 birds described in this book has a page devoted to itself and the contents on each page include the following details:  A photograph, the common name, scientific name, local names, call, status, sighting months, details, food and nesting.  The book is a good companion for birders who use it in other areas too.  The photograph of the Eurasian Wryneck  (Jynx torquilla) on page 113 is a visual delight. It shows the bird with its inordinately long tongue protruding out to catch an insect.  According to Kaustubh Rishi this is a very rare photograph of a not so common bird, definitely not something which one can click everytime one sights this bird.  Some other birds which have been recorded at Sirpur include Greater Flamingo, Sarus cranes, Bluethroat, Crested Serpent Eagle.

Between 2012, when this book was published, and 2015, when this article is being written another 20 species have been added to the list. Thus the next edition of Birds of Sirpur will have at least 150 species.  All in all Birds of Sirpuris a valuable addition to the library of any nature lover and is especially recommended for birders who visit Sirpur Lake frequently.  It will also prove very useful for the beginner in any part of India.  Go for it!!!

Birds-of-Sirpur-Book

Birds of Sirpur by Bhalu Mondhe, Abhilash Khandekar and Kaustubh Rishi

Published by The Nature Volunteers, Indore (2012)

Pages 176, Rs 250.