Sunday, May 12, 2013

birds of different feathers flock together

... in IRRI's rice fields.

I have a limited awareness about birds. I am familiar with those that are pets, those that are grown for human consumption, those that hunt for other animals, and those that I see normally on electric posts. A very limited list compared to what's out there in the wild. Plus, I'd like to know what the bird that I met up close in a rice paddy is called.

A lot of reasons for me to catch the "Feathers in the Fields: The Birds of IRRI" photo exhibit at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).

I was amazed to see that a rice field can host a diverse set of birds. There were some species that consume rice grains (hence the scarecrow was invented and why birdboys earn their keep). But there were a lot more that ate the snails, the frogs, the snakes, and other animals that call the rice paddy their home. With these animals forming part of the food web, the biologist in me started looking for at least a photo of a bird of prey... more specifically, I was hoping that the photographers had captured a photo of an eagle (and that's because the Center for Philippine Raptors used to have a facility in Mount Makiling).

After looking at the photo exhibit, I found only one; the photographers had only photographed one raptor: the peregrine falcon. But the other birds were amazing all the same: I keep wondering how could some birds perch on the rice stalk; are the birds that light or are the stalks that strong?

I am thinking of grabbing my camera and try my hand at bird photography because of this, if only it wasn't so expensive a hobby!