Saturday, March 9, 2002
M A I L  B O X

WITH reference to Baljit Singh’s letter in response to my article: "Taking to flights of fancy (February 9), I wish to make the following clarifications.

While I appreciate the fact that Baljit Singh is perhaps a learned ornithologist, he has sadly missed the whole point of the article, which was to share my newfound joy of amateur bird watching with fellow enthusiasts.

Regarding the anomalies in bird names raised by him, I quote my original text: "However, our first tryst with the lake birds is to sight a "mama duck" along with her ducklings, merrily waddling past a thundering applause from wonder-struck onlookers".

The "mama duck" along with her ducklings, allude to the ‘domesticated ducks’ of pure white colour — probably introduced by the lake authorities for tourists’ delight, which were observed near the pipal tree. As such, they can in no way be dabchicks or little grebe as no migratory birds would venture so near the lake entry point.

Second, his objection to my naming the swooping bird as "Harrier" is perplexing. I once again quote my original text: "We fondly nicknamed him "Harrier" — after the acrobatic jet-fighters seen aboard aircraft carrier! But our guidebook on birds tells us that it’s most probably a Spotted Kingfisher, known for such diving prowess". Clearly the word "Harrier" is merely a nickname and not a scientific name of the bird. Moreover, there is hardly any visual difference between spotted kingfishers and pied kingfishers — and any one of us could be right.

Finally, I would like to add that I very much appreciate Baljit Singh’s painstaking observations, which would further enrich my avian world. After all, I’m just beginning to spread my wings — let hurtful cynicism not clip them!



A balanced diet

"Eat and let die" by Amar Chandel (March 2) was not only interesting but also informative. The writer rightly says that today the maxim ‘every time is tea time’ has been replaced by ‘every time is eating time’. Some people eat all the time.

Add to this the fact that they hardly exercise and the whole situation becomes detrimental to their health. One should eat a healthy and balanced diet and should acquire knowledge about what to eat and what not to eat.

UJAGAR SINGH, Chandigarh