Birds’ Influence On My Appreciation Of Nature


Credit…Miguel David De Leon/Robert S. Kennedy Bird Conservancy

My first love of birds took shape in the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica in the late 1990s. Toucans first, on the Drakes Bay side of the peninsula in 1997 when we had a family getaway at a lodge run by a bird-loving eco-couple. Then starting in 1999 when our company started managing lodges, on the other side of the Osa I had extended exposure to scarlet macaws, almost invariably in pairs. The love was real, and meaningful but not yet as serious as it would become. It was not until moving to India in 2010 that I seriously understood the power of birds to shape our appreciation of nature.

I can pinpoint the day, because it was at the intersection of when Milo took this photo of an owl, and when we started the bird of the day feature, which has been a daily contribution of this platform ever since. That is about the same time that my appreciation of nature, which I had thought to be quite strong already, became as strong as it is today. And this article below reminds me of that day, not least because of the number of medical doctors who are contributors to our daily feature. My profound thanks to Cara Giaimo (again) and especially to the doctor of whose story she shares:


A juvenile kingfisher, with its distinctive black bill.Credit…Miguel David De Leon/Robert S. Kennedy Bird Conservancy

How an Eye Surgeon Got a Picture of This Rare Pastel Bird

The elusive South Philippine dwarf kingfisher is difficult to photograph, and there were no known photographs of its fledglings.

On March 11, Dr. Miguel David De Leon — a vitreoretinal surgeon in Mindanao, the southern island of the Philippines — worked a full morning at the medical center.When he got home, “I was exhausted,” he said.But he pulled it together, lugged his camera an hour uphill and clambered into his bird hide.

Soon his prize appeared: a fledgling South Philippine dwarf kingfisher, about three weeks old. For 10 minutes the rare bird posed on a branch, showing off its pastelcoloring and unusual black bill. “I was so, so thrilled,” said Dr. De Leon, who had chased this shot for over three years. “I felt like my chest would explode.”

The Philippines is filled with birds that can be found only in its forests — at least 255 species are unique to the country. But very little is known about most of them, including the South Philippine dwarf kingfisher. Dr. De Leon’s photograph is the first known to be taken of a fledgling.

His birding group, the Robert S. Kennedy Bird Conservancy, specializes in such photos. The group’s work tends to be both research- and Instagram-worthy, filling gaps in scientific knowledge while showing off the country’s biodiversity…

Read the whole story here.

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