The last time I saw this book was in college. Back then, I was a member of birdwatcher community in ITB. At first I found birdwatching was an unproductive activity. A group of people, pointing at something on the tree, peeking through binocular, make a sketch, rattle off about bird’s latin names, debating about the difference between juvenile and adult, “what the hell are they doing”, “don’t they have more interesting things to do?”, that was my first responses. If we want to see birds why don’t we go to the zoo, it is a lot easier, we don’t have to bring binocular, we don’t have to frequently look up until hurt out neck, we don’t have to identify, simple, fun, easy.
It turned out that I missed something. Birdwatching wasn’t meant only to see birds. Moreover, It was meant to show us the interdependency between birds and its natural habitat. We only find certain birds, in certain habitat. Of course there are “cosmo” birds that we can find almost everywhere near human like Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus) or Burung gereja. But to find more unique, pretty birds with stunning voices, we have to go to certain habitat. For example, we could only see the family of Paradisaeidae or the birds of paradise in Papua. As long as we preserve their natural habitat we can find them.
As a natural pragmatist, I realized something. Those birds are a lot prettier in the wild than in the cage. On top of that, in the wild, birds can serve their ecological service as a pollinator and as a natural controller for maintaining ecological balance . We often take for granted something we got freely without doing extra effort like birds or insects. For too long we valued something based on what the benefit it would bring to human. I say stop! Change that point of view. That is a very humanistic point of view. Rather than putting ourselves as a center of the universe, try to see it differently. We are just a part of the universe, therefore everything around us has to be respected whether they would bring benefit to human or not. Try to see it closer, then you will understand 🙂
Okay I have to stop blabbering now, I might lead this writing to Dawkins evolutionary perspective 😛
Back to the book. MacKinnon’s fields guide for birds in Sumatra, Jawa, Bali & Kalimantan has been the holy bible for birdwatchers in Indonesia. As a birdwatchers in Indonesia it is almost impossible if you didn’t know this book. Although sometime the bird’s color in the drawing is not exactly the same with the one in the wild, I still found this book really helpful.
Special thanks to Burung Indonesia who made it possible for me to have this bible of birdwatching.
So, birdwatching anyone? 😀