We are all birders; at one point or another we were all exposed to bird watching as children.
It’s true since birds are everywhere and they keep stealing our attention: they chirp in trees in our gardens, House Sparrows hop between parked cars in shopping malls, Fork- tailed Drongos perch on electric poles and Barn Swallows nest in our verandas.
In primary schools, especially at Tswana mediums, we sang and flapped our hands like feathers chanting “two little birds sitting on a tree…fofa mantsho fofa mosweu”.
Our school reading books were packed with stories on birds, we imitated their sounds and they were an integral part of learning. We were also taught Setswana idioms and proverbs and there were those on birds and their behaviour. How many can you remember?
Kgori e bona mae ga e bone____________
O se bone nong go _________ godimo go ya tlase ke ga yone
Birding was well established in most children; when schools closed most would enjoy their holidays in farmlands where they received their intense interaction with nature. At the lands, young boys hunted and ate doves, francolins and guinea fowls, identified birds and their habitats, climbed trees and engaged in all sorts of adventure. This cannot be mistaken for anything other than birding although at times they were not friendly.
So it is true, we were all and are still birders even today. Birds are part of our culture and if we do not conserve them, the future generation will not know anything about them.
Residents of Botswana who wish to revive their childhood memories with birds should subscribe to BirdLife Botswana and join a group of birdwatchers who enjoy their Sunday mornings out in the bush. Activities arranged for members, especially the monthly bird walks are a refreshing exercise that gets people out of the ills of town and befriends them with nature. There are professional guides who explain everything, so experience with birds is not needed, the most ideal tools are ears and eyes and, in some cases, binoculars will also be provided.
BirdLife Botswana Gaborone office is in Kgale Siding, behind St Joseph’s College, and there are regional branches in Jwaneng, Ghanzi, Francistown, Kasane and Maun. Bird watching is an environmentally friendly, world growing outdoor recreational activity which most residents should be engaged in as there are over 580 bird species in Botswana.
Nature loving people and those who are eager to learn more about their birds should call 3190540 or visit the BirdLife Botswana website.www.birdlifebotswana.org.bw
For further details and images please contact: ?Lesego Ratsie, BirdLife Botswana.┬á┬á?Tel/Fax: +267 3190540┬á?Email:[email protected]