Tips for Identifying Bird Calls

There are approximately 10,000 different species of birds in the world today, and around 2000 of those can be found in North America alone. For bird watching enthusiasts, the challenge is to find and identify as many of these species as possible. In order to do this, birders use a number of clues including, the location and habitat, and the physical attributes of the bird itself such as shape, size and coloring. One of the easiest and most useful identification tools is the song or call, a unique attribute of each species.

Birds use their songs to communicate, and their calls can be heard over long distances, in dense vegetation or at night when the bird itself can't be seen. Birds can create a greater variety of sounds than humans, and have the ability to take shallow short breaths synchronized with their songs giving the impression that their calls are long and uninterrupted.

In order to identify a bird by its sound, a birdwatcher must listen to various components in the call. For example, does the song consist of a single note, two notes or three or more notes? The call of the Mourning Dove is a trill but always on exactly the same note, while a House Finch chirps up and down on two distinct notes.

Another characteristic is the musical quality of the call. Some birds such as the Skylark have a call that is amazing in its beauty and complexity, while the harsh nasal sound of the Laughing Gull won't inspire any cantatas.

Bird calls may be high, moderate or low pitched, and their songs may be short or long in duration. Even the speed of sound repetition can help distinguish one bird from another. The Song Sparrow issues short, quick, moderate pitched chirps with a break between each one, while the American Goldfinch's call is high-pitched, in groups of three, descending, short sounds.

The term birding by ear, means learning to identify birds by their individual calls. Gaining this skill requires time and patience. Start by listening to the birds in your own yard and trying to distinguish one sound from another. You can find the sounds you are hearing by listening to audio clips of individual bird songs online.

Choose the early morning to go bird watching. The cool air and lack of noise allows their calls to be carried more easily. Take detailed notes of what you hear and then go back to the internet and try to match the song to the bird. By listening for a birds call, you can more easily locate the bird itself through your binoculars, and learn to match the physical characteristics with the sound.

Learning to identify birds by their calls will add a rich dimension to your birding experiences, and allow an increased appreciation of the avian creatures that share our world.

The Culinary Delights Of: The Different Types Of Orchids?

Lately I've been reading a lot of orchid books and posts about edible orchids. Since the birth of civilization, the search for edible things has brought us the weirdest culinary delights, such as snails and insects. That is why it's no surprise that even an unlikely source -- orchids -- found its way onto the tables and into the mouths of people around the world.

Discover what and where these incredible flowers have been used as delicious and healthy concoctions. The most common question I found about eating orchids is what can be eaten and how. The answer is basically very easy. Everything! If you are not that picky, actually every part of the orchid that can be chewed and swallowed can be eaten. But the most favorite part of the plant that people eat is the flower.

Aside from vanilla being the most recognized orchid that can be eaten, orchid flowers have been a part of the diet of people long before any of them found their way to cakes and cocktail drinks. Clear examples to this culinary adventure are the people of Hawaii who have been said to have eaten orchids since the 1960's.

They eat them as salads and as candies. Singaporeans also use orchid flowers as a part of a stir-fried dish mixed with vegetables and meat. In Turkey and the Middle East, they use orchid bulbs as flavoring in ice cream. People of South Africa use orchid tubers to flavor meat sauces.

As a matter of fact because of this demand, the existence of the African orchids is now being threatened. The taste is described to be ranging from bitter to sweet depending on the orchid types. Basically since no orchid is poisonous, all orchids are quite edible. They are also rich in fiber, which is good for digestion, and Vitamin C to boost the immune system. Of course, this might not be for everyone's taste buds.

Some may think it's a waste to eat these delicate flowers. But do not worry! There are certain farms that grow these plants especially for cooking. To those willing to try orchids as food, it is surely a new way of seeing (or in this case, tasting) these wonderful beauties of nature. Enjoy the delights of what natural things bring, such as these flowers. Orchids are an alternative to fruits and vegetables. Enjoy them in salads and much more.

Climate Change Adaptation and Agriculture


Climate Change (CC) is the among the most important global environment concerns. CC is having significant impacts on the most vulnerable communities. Considering characteristics, agriculture can be considered as one of the most affected sector and thus most vulnerable to climate change. Susceptibility and sensitivity of agriculture to the variance of the climatic parameters is responsible for the fact. Agriculture having the significant contributor in national GDP, translates the susceptibility of national economy and growth to climate change. In context of India the GDPs 60% share is agriculture and approximately 60% population's livelihood is depends on farming co emphasizing the need of resilient systems and strategies for agriculture sector and farming community. In which semi-arid regions are considered particularly most vulnerable to climate change. Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation Supported Development Alternatives, a Civil Society Organization, active in Bundelkhand Region of Central India for taking up actions and influence policy to address the climate vulnerability of the region and its impact on livelihhods.


Semi arid regions being particularly less resilient to the non favourable climatic conditions, lead to more negative impacts. Bundelkhand has faced severe drought years in recent past (five drought years in last seven years). Last year was not the hydrological drought but delayed monsoon resulted into the failed Kharif season in most part of the Bundelkhand region. Increasing frequency of the drought in the region is causing the farmers to take extreme steps in frustration. There have been incidences of farmers letting their animals in fields as the crops would not yield anything, in cases of delayed monsoon.

Even though farmers are facing these challenges, haven't yet realized that these droughts are not incidental but reflecting the trend of reducing rainfall and erratic character and these are going to be more common incidents in future. Thus there is dire need not only of identifying strategies to fight climate change but also to make the vulnerable sections aware about the climate change and make them ready to adopt the strategies for adapting to climate change.

Mitigation and Adaptation:

There are several factors and sectors which are responsible for Green House Gas emissions and thus climate change. Agriculture sector remained most unmanaged till yet due to i) non point source emission of GHGs, ii) need and priority of higher productions to feed the ever growing population. As mentioned above, agriculture sector is also most susceptible to climate change contributing into the vicious cycle. Inefficient agricultural practices causes the GHG more emissions, which accelerating the CC, resulting into the lower production. To compensate this, farmers tend to put more resources whenever and wherever are available in terms of fertilizer, water etc. which are the main factor for inefficiencies in the farm sector.

Effects of Climate Change and Solutions:

In Bundelkhand region, calculations of the climate reflect that after 25 years, rainfall is expected to reduce by 20% and the productivity of the existing crops may reduce by 15%. Decreasing landholding per farmer is going to have enhanced negative impact of these projections.

Thus the expected facts after 20-25 years would be:

• Reduced rainfall, thus
o Less availability of surface water
o Deepened ground water level
o Low returns of rain fed agriculture

• Smaller landholdings
• High input costs in agriculture
• Lower profitability per unit of land
• Higher risks of crop failures

Above estimations on reduced productions are based on the existing crops and practices. Our adaptation strategies need to be focus on the methods which can nullify or reduce the effects of the unreliable climatic conditions. Such as:

• Adopting low water requiring/ drought resisting crops/crop verities
• By reducing the water losses in agriculture and by irrigating the crops/plants not the land
• Using improved practices to save the applied water like mulching etc
• Reducing the input costs by appropriate application of inputs
• Adopting and promoting the alternative models for duel/multiple use of land like different forms of agroforestry or multi cropping
• By having fall back options like alternate income sources/crop insurance etc.

Where is will there is a Way

Approach which has been adopted to take up and fight with climate change is two sided, i) Identifying the technical options and interventions required, ii) making community aware and helping them to take lead to fight climate change.

Identification of interventions

Drought resistant varieties are available at different stakeholders. However the adoption is not much as farmers are not aware about these varieties and characteristics of these crops/crop varieties. Such varieties have been promoted as they are the important option which can provide reliable production level even in extreme conditions.

There are various methods and ways available for reducing the water losses in irrigation. Sprinkler and drip methods can reduce the water application significantly. Similarly, mulching can reduce the water loss from the soil. For flood irrigation also contour cultivation, and making the check basins or borders depending on the land slope and soil type, can increase the water use efficiencies significantly. Information on these options is being made available to the farmers through different stakeholders including the research organizations.

It has also been observed that the quantity of seed we use per acre of land is quite higher than required for optimum production. This, not only increase the input costs but also reduce the productivity by creating unnecessary competition within the crop itself. Appropriate use of manure and fertilizers, minimal tillage is the practices which reduces the input costs and enhance the profitability of the particular crops.

Agro-horticulture and other forms of Agro-forestry can be one way of reducing the dependability of the output of our efforts on the erratic monsoon, thus, stabilizing the incomes of the household and also its distribution across the year. For the purpose of reducing the risks of crop failure, government is also promoting the efficient irrigation systems like drip and sprinkler for agro-horticulture use.

Government has also various other schemes to protect or at least protect partially ourselves from the risks of the crop failure from several reasons. National Agriculture Research Scheme (NAIS) is one of them. We can get our crop insured under this scheme and in case of crop damage due to any o the enlisted reasons, we can get the benefits of the schemes.

It is also worth knowing at this point of time that quite of the options available are more accessible for the groups. Let's join hand together to access the information and take the challenges posed by climate change.

Creating Institutional Systems for Adaptation

Adaptation is the community and social initiative, which needs community actions. For sustainable farming society initiative, three tier institutional systems has been formed, at village level farmers groups consists of active farmers. The objectives of the farmers clubs is to keep interactions and ensure access of farmers to knowledge and resources bases in terms of the meetings with scientists and extension workers, ensuring appropriate seed varieties and technologies etc. At second tier representatives of the farmers groups have formed the cluster of the farmers group. These clusters are responsible for managing and creating cluster (cluster of geographically nearby villages). Top level tier is the federation level institution which takes the responsibility to resource building for all three levels of the institutions and establishing backward and forward linkages with markets.

In fact these institutions are playing their role effectively and have shown the capacity. Several activities have been taken up by them. These three tier system is part of the Farmers adaptation cluster. During the first year of operations, the Farmers Adaptation Cluster, has established linkages with different institutions like Water Technology Centre, Indian Agriculture Research Institute, Krishi Vikas Kendra (KVK), National Research Centre on Agro Forestry (NRCAF), etc. and had arranged exposure visits for its member farmers, introduced high yielding varieties and appropriate practices affecting the yield enhancement by 35 to 40%. It has also recorded the reduction in required inputs due to information and appropriate technology propagation.