Sep 5, 2010
This brief article on Pelicans and the several pictures is a reminder to amateur bird lovers that it is relatively easy to photograph birds in their natural surroundings, if only one could devote a fair amount of time and energy in studying these graceful flying machines. The only prerequisite being a disciplined and an inquisitive mind.
Recently, (August, 19th, 2010) Daijiworld, as part of the decennial celebrations, showcased the wide-ranging photographs of a remarkable and talented photographer, Dayanand Kukkage at St. Aloysius College premises. An interactive session on photography was also arranged both for amateur and budding photographers with the help of leading photographers. We were truly amazed at the participation; both from the public as well as the students and their hunger to learn more on the subject of photography.
This article is primarily written to impart confidence to young students who have a desire for learning; that photography is all about creativity and looking beyond the four corners of a photograph. Even though, an expensive camera is required for professional photos, a fairly good camera can also capture stunning photographs. The first and most important rule is to keep experimenting. The same picture should be clicked both with auto and programmee mode with different ISO settings. For the novice, a simple suggestion as to when and where to look for birds with great success might prove helpful. Despite the fact that birds are on the move all day long, their activity is greatest in the early morning hours. More importantly, the filtered sunlight in the early dawn is the ideal light to photograph not only birds but also other forms of wildlife.
We would like to take our readers to a new world - the world of pelicans. The pictures of the spot billed pelican were clicked at the Ranganathittu Bird sanctuary in Mysore.
The world over, there are eight species of pelicans, found on all continents except Antarctica. India is home to two types; the spot billed (Grey) and the white (Rosy) pelican. The spot billed pelican is one of the most threatened of the eight species of pelicans in the world with an estimated population of 10,000 to 15,000. The total population is estimated to number 2,500–5,000 individuals in South Asia, 3,000–5,000individuals in South-East Asia and <25 individuals in Sumatra . The ICUN has warned that the number of breeding pairs is rapidly declining due to human disturbance at the nesting sites, poaching, hunting and conversion of wetlands. Habitat loss and fragmentation is also significantly contributing to the rapid decline in numbers.
A large squat water bird with grey or grayish white coloration and a brown nuchal crest. The bird has short stout legs, and their feet with all four toes webbed. The enormous heavy flattened bill is adapted to efficiently catch fish. The tail is short and square. The wings are long with a number of unusually large numbers of secondary flight feathers. A flesh colored gular pouch has a bluish purple wash. At close range the blue spots on upper mandible and on gular pouch help in distinguishing the male from the female. Despite their big size, the birds can quickly and effortlessly fly away from danger and once launched fly with steady rhythmical wing beats, head drawn in between the shoulders. A group of pelicans is called a pod.
DISTRIBUTION: Well watered tracts throughout the Indian Union.
WINGSPAN: 6 TO 11 feet depending on the species
WEIGHT: 4.5 TO 7.5 Kilograms depending on the species
LIFE SPAN: Up to 30 years
RANGE: Breeds in the well watered parts of South, south east and east India.
NESTING: A large platform in tall trees, often far from water. Several nests in the same tree.
SEASON: November to April
EGGS: Three chalky white colored eggs. Both sexes incubate the eggs.
INCUBATION: 28 to 36 days depending on species
AGE OF FLEDGE: 60 to 76 days after hatching
REPRODUCTION: The hatching percentage is pretty high but once the eggs are hatched, because of the competition from other siblings, only one survives
DIET: Fish, amphibians, Crustaceans.
MODE OF CATCHING FISH: Fish by cooperative effort, swimming in a semi circle, driving the fish into shallow waters before scooping up the prey in the gular pouches.
STATUS ACCORDING TO 2010 IUCN Red List Category: Near Threatened
The campus, may it be a school or college; is the right place for exchange of ideas and display of photographs on the notice board. To begin with, it is important to start a Bird watching Club and invite skilled photographers to deliver talks with PowerPoint presentations. A few members of the club could also share their experiences and the difficulties encountered in photographing birds in the wild habitat. Over a period of time the members could upload their photographs and establish a web linked network to share knowledge and pictures with bird watchers across the globe. Just as a bird which has no physical boundaries, is capable of flying to different continents, so also in the age of the internet, humans can share wildlife information across continents at the click of a mouse. ? Come; join us in making a positive difference to planet earth by joining one or the other groups that protects and safeguards wildlife and their habitat. !
We use the following equipment for our wild life photography
Camera: Canon EOS 40 D
Lens: Sigma 125/ 500 mm.
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