The Ranganthitu Bird Sanctuary is one of the largest avian sanctuaries in India. Located in the Mandya District, in Karnataka state, it is an area comprised of 40 acres and six islets. It is considered as one of the most important sanctuaries in the country.
To fully appreciate the diversity of bird life in Ranganthitu Sanctuary, consider the following helpful tips:
Use a decent field guide
Before heading to the sanctuary, ensure you are able to identify different bird families. You should be able to differentiate between a warbler, wagtail, grebe, and goose. Then, learn how the subgroups differ such as the marsh and sea terns. After tackling subgroups, learn about the diversity of species. The best way to do all this “learning” is by becoming a member of an ornithology group, subscribing to journals and magazines that address bird watching, and by seeking help from an avid bird watcher.
Make good sketches and notes
Once you spot a bird, avoid looking at the field guide. Try to identify it and make a sketch. Add as many details as possible. Pay attention to the bird’s eye stripe, chin, crown, feather group, and breast. Don’t forget to note down its behavior.
Invest in a good pair of binoculars
Instead of visiting an electronics shop and purchasing the most expensive one, speak to a bird watching specialist and seek advice. Try out different models. Binoculars should feel comfortable and help you avoid neck and eye strain. After purchasing them, remember to keep them with you. You never know when an interesting bird may fly over your car! Keep them dangling from your neck, but with the straps shortened. This is why it is recommended to choose binoculars that are not heavy.
Always look ahead
When you spot an interesting species of bird, do not look down to lift your binoculars to your eyes. Instead keep eyes fixed on the bird, and carefully raise your binoculars to your line of sight. Then adjust the focus wheel quickly to get a clearer image. This requires a lot of practice and familiarity.
Exercise good field craft
While stalking birds, behave as if you are a hunter. Move slowly and patiently. Refrain from wearing brightly colored clothing and whisper softly if you have to speak to someone. Try to camouflage against the scenery and remain below the skyline.
Every bird reserve has at the minimum, one hide. It provides brilliant views that are usually difficult to come by. It also helps new bird watchers become familiar with the distinct features of each species. Be considerate of other birdwatchers and birds. Leave the area quietly. Do not shout, point outside windows, or block others’ views.
Learn bird songs and calls
Many bird species can also be identified by learning how they sound. These can be learned by listening to DVDs and CDs dedicated to them. Over time, you will be able to locate a bird just by hearing its call.