You must have seen people worshipping birds, trees and animals in many places. After observing this, you must have wondered as to ‘Why people worship nature”? An easy answer to this question is because our ancestors did it. A long long time ago, worshipping birds, trees and animals were ways devised by our ancestors to respect our ecology. This was also meant to prevent human greediness from destroying our natural wealth. Unfortunately, if we look at the present situation, birds and their habitations have faced much destruction.
What are the two reasons given for worshiping nature? There are about 9000 species of birds and their size varies from 5 cms to over 2.5 metres. The Humming Bird is one of the smallest species of birds and the Ostrich, which reaches a height of over 8 feet, is the largest bird on the planet. There are birds, which are known for their swiftness such as the Eagle and the Hawk; there are other birds such as the Vulture, which are known for flying at high altitudes. There are also: several birds, which have lost the power of flight such as the Ostrich, the Emu and the Kiwi. Make a table showing specialites of the birds
mentioned in the paragraph.
Birds are called winged bipeds, The body. temperature of birds remains more or less constant. Another interesting feature about birds is their feathers. Observing the feathers of a bird gives us an idea about the life that they lead. Birds have beaks. They have no teeth. Their main food consists of insects, food grains, and flesh. Like reptiles, birds too lay eggs. They have a keen sense of sight and hearing, but their sense of smell and taste is poor. Birds have the wonderful capacity of adjusting their vision quickly. As a result, they can shift their focus from a distant object to a nearby object in a fraction of a second.
Find the specialites of birds given in the paragraph.
In India, the world of ‘Birds’ was exposed to us by the great Salim Ali’s contribution. He is affectionately known as the ‘Bird-man of India’. Salim Ali was born on 12th November 1896. His maternal uncle Amiruddin Tyabji brought him up. His uncle was a hunter and a nature lover. Under his guidance, Salim learnt to hunt and appreciate the nature around him. As a child, Salim Ali shot a bird, which had a yellow streak running below its neck. His uncle could not identify the species and advised him to contact the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) in Mumbai. Dr. W.S. Millard, the honorary secretary of the BNHS identified the bird as a yellow throated sparrow. He also showed Salim Ali the Society’s splendid collection of stuffed birds.
This single incident changed Salim Ali’s life and India got its best ornithologist as a result. Once Salim Ali said, “My chief interest in the study of birds has been the opportunity to observe the bird’s life history under natural conditions and not in the laboratory under a microscope. By travelling to remote uninhabited places, I can study the birds as they live and behave in their natural habitat”.
What do you like the most about Salim Ali? Salim Ali received honours and medals from all over the world for his service including the J. Paul Getty International award, the Golden Ark of the International Union for conservation of nature, the gold medal of the British Ornithology Union (a rarity for non-British people) and Padmashree and Padma Vibhushan from the Indian Government.
His timely intervention saved the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary and the Silent Valley National Park. His famous book “The Book of Indian Birds” is a bible for budding ornithologists. He passed away in 1987 at the age of 91. He is no more, but his legacy lives on. His dedication to ornithology has left behind committed groups of amateur bird watchers all over India.
Answer the following questions:
(1) Why is Salim Ali called the Bird-man of India?
(ii) What do ‘feathers’ of birds tell us ?
(iii) “Looking at the beak of a bird, it is possible to understand its life cycle”. Explain.
(iv) What influenced Salim Ali to become an ornithologist?