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Shikra – Janbaaz Shikari



It was 28th January and its birthday of my husband. We went to Chadva Rakhal on previous day and we saw Indian Paradise Flycatcher first time in Kutch. It was our initial days of bird photography. We were very much excited about seeing the IPFC in Kutch. Therefore, we decided visit again. Pankaj and Sweetu were busy in search of IPFC. I randomly went on another trail, which had dense vegetation, looks pretty isolated and almost vacant- sumsan.  I was about to turn when I saw a small raptor with kill beside a narrow water stream. Prey was still alive panting frantically as it’s trapped under firm grip of the watchful raptor’s talons when I saw. I immediately went to call Pankaj to photograph it. He informed me that small raptor is Shikra and its kill is Little Egret, which is rare prey for Shikra. Shikra already started to feast on prey by that time we can clearly see fresh blood of prey on Shikra’s beak. It was amazing to see a small raptor can kill that large prey. After that, many times we encounter Shikra with kill but never like this one. Really, Shikra is a badass killer in raptors. 

They were noted for their pluck and ability to take much larger birds including partrigdes, crows and even young peafowl. The word shikra or shikara means hunter in the Hindi language (the male was called chipak or chipka based on call.  The word Shikra is borrowed from the Urdu word which is derived from the word shikari meaning hunter. Hunting in Persian and Turkish is referred to as shikar, and in Arabic the hunt master in the Mamlook Era was known as Ameer Shikar. The word Shikari may also be used in English in the sense of "hunter".

28th  January 2013 
Chadava rakhal, Bhuj, Kutch, Gujarat, India

Canon SX50HS
f/5.6, 1/20,iso-800

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One of the features of a civilized man is that he has hobbies, serious hobbies. From time immemorial man has invented and developed various hobbies ranging from stamp collection to feather collection. Though man has been a social animal for a long time, the primeval instinct in his has not died. We yearn and long to be close to nature. There are a few hobbies that give us an opportunity to do so. One such hobby is bird-watching. It might seem simple to read the word and guess that it is very easy to watch the birds. But it is not what it seems. It needs a lot of dedication, determination and consistency to master ‘the art of bird-watching.’ It takes years of patience and perseverance to be a good birdwatcher. What you choose as your hobby is not as important as to what hobby chooses you. You have to be the chosen one.   Dr. Pankaj Maheria, a Professor at GMERS Medical College, Valsad (South Gujarat) is one such Chosen One. Birds have chosen him as a medium between their worl

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