Bird Race time again!

Deepa Mohan participates in the annual Bird Race, spots 128 birds, and reports in verse!

Cartoon by Rohan Chakravarty.

Bird Race time again! Or to be more precise,
The HSBC Bangalore Bird Race is what it’s known to the wise.

As soon as the registration was declared open,
Thirty-six teams registered, every person hoping
That he or she would be the one to sight so many birds
That "You’re the best!" would be the judges’ appreciative words.

The Bird Race team consisted of a lot of names with S’s…
Srihari, Subbu, Sunjoy, sort out all the messes
And successfully stage the event.
Thanks to their work, it all went
Smoothly, with sponsorship from HSBC…
A day of being in the open air, sighting birds happily.

One team dropped out, alas…
But, in spite of that, there was

High enthusiasm amongst the rest.
At dawn, they fanned out north and east
To partake of the birding feast

They also travelled south and west
To make sure they were the best.

Over hill and dale they went
As the "hunting parties" spent
The day near water, near grass, under trees
(A team can tick only what its member sees.)

A surprising thing happened this year…
Something that will bring great cheer
To each and every birder’s heart…
Seven teams decided they’d bird, together, not apart.

Of these, one had to drop out, and the other
(Three young men, a daughter…and a father
Who’d performed surgery till the early hours)
Started late… but used their powers
To ultimately win the race,
And accept first place with a smiling face.

(Team Flowerpecker: Vaibhav Choudhary, Apoorva Managoli, Chandrashekar M,
Deepak T M, Dr. Sanjeev Managoli, all aided by Dr. Surekha Managoli….155 species)

The second-placed team, led by Mr Jagirdhar
Wandered over the city, near and far
Managed to get a hundred and forty…
Enough reason for Bangalore birders to party.

(TeamWhite Throat: Jayram Jahgridhar, Mani, Hemanth, Vikram,
Vinaya….140 species)

The third prize went to Team Black Stork;
They did not have to do too much work.
Between breakfast and lunch, snacks (and jokes) and chai
They sighted birds, looking low…and high.

(Team Black Stork: Deepa Mohan, Chandrasekhar Bandi, Mani K, Santosh B S,
Yashpal and Yuvi Rathore….128 species)

Ibis, Falcon, Spotted Owlet and Ruff
Got several birds…the number was enough.
All the other teams, also, enjoyed
The day very much and filled the void
spaces on their list of birds.
With common names or scientific words.

Whether they saw just one or a flock
They’d seen enough by five pm on the clock
To satisfy them at the end of the day
As they made their way to Alliance Francaise.

Several Green Teams went walking or by bus
And got their sightings without any fuss
Kaadu Goobe was the team with the most
Birds seen…However, the host
Of other birders "racing" this day…
To Vasanth Nagar they made their way.

(Kaadu Goobe: Sahana Balkal, Ashwini Kumar Bhat, and Sainath Vellal..108 species)

The judges, Dipu, Shreeram and Karthik
Carefully identified every click
That the birders brought them, and did the sums.
They weeded out the doubtful ones.

Swarna invited Mr Vivek Sinha
And his wife to cheer the winners
Sunjoy spoke about how tough
It was to get funding enough.
Karthik and Dipu spoke from the heart
About birding’s most important part:
Getting to know the birds by their "jizz" ….
Not just wanting the winners’ champagne fizz.

Prizes were given away to the teams.
Then dinner, till each was bursting at the seams
Happy and tired, all then dispersed
They’d all won even if they’d not come first.

Hoping to be, again, in the next Bird Race
The community of birders parted ways.


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