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Birds of the Indian Hills   By: (1875-1957)

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First Page:

BIRDS OF THE INDIAN HILLS

BY DOUGLAS DEWAR

A COMPANION VOLUME TO THE BIRD VOLUMES OF "THE FAUNA OF BRITISH INDIA"

LONDON: JOHN LANE, THE BODLEY HEAD NEW YORK: JOHN LANE COMPANY TORONTO: BELL & COCKBURN

MCMXV

All rights reserved

Printed by BALLANTYNE, HANSON & CO. at the Ballantyne Press, Edinburgh

Considerable portions of this book have already appeared as articles in one or other of the following newspapers or periodicals: The Pioneer , Madras Mail , Englishman , Indian Field , Bird Notes . I am indebted to the editors of the above publications for permission to republish the portions of the book that have already appeared in print.

CONTENTS

PART I BIRDS OF THE HIMALAYAS . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 THE HABITAT OF HIMALAYAN BIRDS . . . . . . 13 THE COMMON BIRDS OF THE WESTERN HIMALAYAS . 29 THE COMMON BIRDS OF THE EASTERN HIMALAYAS . 105 TITS AT WORK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 127 THE PEKIN ROBIN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 133 BLACK BULBULS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 138 A WARBLER OF DISTINCTION . . . . . . . . . 145 THE SPOTTED FORKTAIL . . . . . . . . . . . 151 THE NEST OF THE GREY WINGED OUZEL . . . . . 158 THE BLACK AND YELLOW GROSBEAK . . . . . . . 164 THE GREAT HIMALAYAN BARBET . . . . . . . . 174

PART II THE COMMON BIRDS OF THE NILGIRIS . . . . . . . 181

PART III THE COMMON BIRDS OF THE PALNI HILLS . . . . . . 233

APPENDICES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 249 INDEX . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 258

PART I Birds of the Himalayas

INTRODUCTION

The avifauna of the Himalayas is a large one. It includes birds found throughout the range, birds confined to the eastern or western portions, birds resident all through the year, birds that are mere seasonal visitors, birds found only at high elevations, birds confined to the lower hills, birds abundant everywhere, birds nowhere common. Most ornithological books treat of all these sorts and conditions of birds impartially, with the result that the non ornithological reader who dips into them finds himself completely out of his depth.

He who plunges into the essays that follow need have no fear of getting out of his depth. With the object of guarding against this catastrophe, I have described as few birds as possible. I have ignored all those that are not likely to be seen daily in summer in the Himalayas at elevations between 5000 and 7000 feet above the sea level. Moreover, the birds of the Western have been separated from those of the Eastern Himalayas. The result is that he who peruses this book will be confronted with comparatively few birds, and should experience little difficulty in recognising them when he meets them in the flesh. I am fully alive to the fact that the method I have adopted has drawbacks. Some readers are likely to come across birds at the various hill stations which do not find place in this book. Such will doubtless charge me with sins of omission. I meet these charges in anticipation by adopting the defence of the Irishman, charged with the theft of a chicken, whose crime had been witnessed by several persons: "For every witness who saw me steal the chicken, I'll bring twenty who didn't see me steal it!"

The reader will come across twenty birds which the essays that follow will enable him to identify for every one he sees not described in them.

THE HABITAT OF HIMALAYAN BIRDS

Himalayan birds inhabit what is perhaps the most wonderful tract of country in the world. The Himalayas are not so much a chain of mountains as a mountainous country, some eighty miles broad and several hundred long a country composed entirely of mountains and valleys with no large plains or broad plateaux.

There is a saying of an ancient Sanskrit poet which, being translated into English, runs: "In a hundred ages of the gods I could not tell you of the glories of Himachal... Continue reading book >>




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