Thursday, February 12, 2009

Birds of a feather

Islands of Barringtonia at the Vedanthangal sanctuary; and no, the white specks are not Barringtonia flowers or jasmine buds. If you click on the photo, you'll get to see they are all birds and that most of them are made from the same feather. Those are the egrets; somewhere in between them are a few grey herons. It is easy to make them out for they are not only slightly larger, but have grey feathers unlike the all-white egrets.

200 years ago to the day was born a man who looked not only at the feathers but also the beaks of small birds that he saw - and collected - on a voyage to a group of islands as a 22-year old. It took him another 28 years to put together all his thoughts into a coherent theory, one that shook up the world of natural science. It is a nice coincidence and somehow appropriate that the world celebrates both the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his work "The Origin of Species" this year.

Celebrations of the man's birthday in Chennai are muted. There were a few posters around which indicated that the significance of the day has not been entirely missed!





2 comments:

Babooshka said...

That is a marvellous sight

Shantaram said...

@ Babooshka: Isn't it? There are about 20,000 birds there at this time of the year - it is quite a sight!