How I Cheated the Oriental White Eye

oriental_white_eye

Featured here is the Oriental White Eye. Photograph by Sandeep Mukherjee. Camera NIKON D- 90, IGMA 150-500 mm lens.

 Editor’s Note: An officer with the Government of India, Sandeep is an avid bird watcher and a keen photographer. Every year his bird watching hobby takes him to national parks and long treks all over the country. Initiated into bird watching by his uncle when he was a boy of five, the love for birds has endured for the last thirty years. Sandeep also maintains a small aviary at his house in Delhi’s Chittaranjan Park. Listening to him, one realizes that bird watching requires lots of perseverance, inquisitiveness and research. While we listened to his experiences in awe, we could almost hear him say “its elementary my dear Watson!”

It was for some months that I was trying to get a good shot at the Oriental White Eye. Though not very uncommon in Delhi, to photograph this bird in all its detail is difficult. White Eye is a rather fidgety bird and by the time it is on focus, the would have flitted behind a leaf or a branch. Frustrated with this hide and seek, I used the time tested tool of bird photographers. I downloaded the call of the Oriental White Eye from the website www.xeno-canto.org and in the morning around 6 am played the recorded bird call on my laptop from my balcony. And what a surprise!, in less than a minute, attracted by the recorded bird call, there were about 10-15 Oriental White Eyes on the tree in front of my balcony. With the camera ready and the 500 mm lens in place, I waited. A brave heart hopped closer, searching for the source of the call. And there it was on the balcony sill, sitting and peering, the perfect moment for me to press the click button. I managed to get my subject, with a little bit of luck and a lot of deception!

Birds found in the Delhi region have their breeding seasons in the month of April-May and any bird lover could download the bird calls of most of the common birds such as “Taylor Bird”, “Barbets” “Purple Sun-Bird” etc., from the site www.xeno-canto.org for free. Play the call early in the morning on your laptop, mobile or any speaker you could lay your hands on and then watch the fun. Don’t forget to keep a camera handy.

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