Before going to Tadoba, we talked about the fact that sometimes, we see no animals at all. Two of us had been to wildlife sanctuaries before, and wanted everyone to be prepared for an experience that might prove to be disappointing if you only want to see a tiger. Just being in the forest has a charm of its own if we aren’t obsessed with seeing particular animals, we said. We would definitely see some animals – at least deer – and some birds. It is a forest after all.
Very diffidently, a friend admitted that she could recognise nothing. I assured her that I could identify all of five birds with any kind of surety – and that list included the crow, sparrow and mynah. She laughed at me and all but said that she did not believe me. I told her that one other bird I could identify was the chestnut-headed bee-eater. She looked at me with some measure of awe. It seemed pretty fancy to her that I could identify a bird with such a specific name.
Two hours in the forest and we were all laughing about it. Of course we could identify the bee-eater! You know the best part about the chestnut-headed bee-eater? It’s so easy to identify, and when you say it, it sounds like you are a professional bird-watcher. It’s like supercalifragilisticexpialidocious – if you say it loud enough, it always sounds precocious.
Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Chestnut-headed bee-eater.
Both give me the same feeling of triumph!