By Marisa de Silva
carefully: Deepal at work (Right) The Bird Sounds CD Pic by
M.A. Pushpa Kumara
'The Bird Sounds
of Sri Lanka', a CD featuring 99 species of birds from around the
island was launched recently by ardent bird watcher Deepal Warakagoda.
The co-author of the book 'Birds of Ceylon', Deepal is well known
in the field for his discovery of a hitherto unknown small owl species,
the Serendib Scops Owl in January 2001.
The Bird Sounds
CD is a perfect aid for bird lovers, especially those interested
in carrying out in-depth research on birds, to recognize them solely
on their sounds.
The difference between his previous audio ventures and this one
is that, there is no break in the flow of bird sounds. In the previous
recordings, an introduction about each bird was made before each
started off his 'birding' habit as a hobby when he was still in
school, it is now Deepal's career as he works as a tour leader for
A. Baur & Co., conducting bird watching tours for tourists.
He is the joint secretary of the 'Ceylon Bird Club', the pioneer
organization on bird study here.
that there are two main steps with regards to bird identification.
One is visual identification, where you name a particular bird and
thereby differentiate it from another.
The second is
sound identification, where one could recognize a bird by its call.
After much field exposure and experience, identifying birds by their
sounds isn't too difficult says Deepal.
how he came up with the idea to record bird sounds Deepal said that
initially he had found it hard to memorise specific birdcalls and
the bird that made them. This is when he thought of combining his
two interests - electronics and birding - and devised a method to
record various bird sounds on the field, so that he could learn
and memorise them back at home. Then came the idea that he could
help other people who are interested in bird sounds.
natural bird sounds have to go through a process of filtering, editing
and sprucing up, before it can make it to the listener's ear. Therefore,
Deepal selects the best sound made by each bird from a range he
has collected over the years, and filters out any unwanted and extra
background noise to make the final recording.
reflector, (an object resembling a miniature dish antenna with a
mike in the centre, facing inward) is an instrument used to pick
up distant bird sounds. It screens out unnecessary sounds, leaving
only that of the birds, to enable a high quality of recording. The
shotgun microphone (an instrument like a feathery duster) also aids
the recording process. Though it cannot filter out as much as the
reflector it can produce good quality sounds.
The CD is mainly
based on 10 habitats where specific birds that would best represent
each habitat, for instance, the Magpie Robin from the Wet Zone near
towns, the Yellow-Eared Bulbul of the hill country forests, Common
Sandpiper from the lakes and marshes and the Black Winged Stilt
from the lagoons and saltpans.
they all sound pleasant to me, I cannot speak for everyone. Therefore,
I had to pick and choose what would best suit the taste of the average
listener," he said.
You need not be a 'birder' or a researcher to appreciate the bird
sounds... they are wonderful for pure listening pleasure. After
all, what more could you expect when nature's finest musicians are
has also in his collection the 'Drongo Nature Sounds Library’
on CD and mini-disc consisting both animal and bird sounds, the
only one of its kind in the country. The title Drongo was derived
from the name of this very interesting bird, with a wide and varied
repertoire of sounds and the unique ability to mimic other birds,
in furthering their studies on animals or birds could have access
to these recordings by contacting Deepal on tel: 2817370. 'The Bird
Sounds of Sri Lanka', (73 minute CD time) is available at Eco-Rhythm
Music Centre, 5A, Perahera Mawatha, Colombo 02.