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Eagle eye

The 61-year-old has observed raptors for the past 35-years across India and in countries like Tanzania, Kenya, Japan and Mongolia

Ranjita Ganesan 

For Rishad Naoroji, bird watching is a "professional hobby". The 61-year-old has observed raptors for the past 35-years across India and in countries like Tanzania, Kenya, Japan and Mongolia. Cousin of Godrej Chairman Adi Godrej, Naoroji talks to Ranjita Ganesan at his fifth-floor office in about his preferred birding gadgets

What is the essential equipment for bird watching?

A strong set of with good range and optics is a must. 10X40 binocs are ideal for long-distance observation of birds of prey. A good pair is expensive - Rs 70,000-80,000. But spend the money once and it keeps you going for 30 years. We also sometimes carry telescopes or birding scopes. They are ideal to use around a lake, where you can set them up and watch from the shore. Cameras and solid lenses are useful for capturing various stages in a raptor's growth and subtle differences between and within species. Tripods cannot be used on all terrains, so sandbags can come in handy.

What do you like to use?
My war horse is a Zeiss 10X40 that is more than 20-years-old. It is light and sturdy. I dropped it a couple of times and my heart skipped a beat but there was no damage. The optics are still as stunning.

I also use a Leica 10X50, which is slightly heavier. They are both old but more than adequate.

Which camera do you use?
For me, photography is more about identification and record keeping. I am a Nikon man. The D300 body that I use is now four-years-old. My lenses include a monster 400mm f2.8 and a 500mm f4, both by Nikon. I will be buying the new D7100 soon. I consult four or five experts before investing in a camera.

Do you use a tripod?
For stability, I usually use sandbags. They add about 6kg in weight but work well. My tripod too is fitted with a sandbag. It helps absorb vibrations on the roof of a four-wheel drive.

Do you prefer any specific clothing for birding?
Just a camera jacket because I need the multiple pockets. I have Nikon jackets and one by Canon, which my dealer in Singapore gave me.

Which books can beginner birders refer to?
There are a lot of good field guides for basic identification. My book helps in learning about raptors around India. (Naoroji has authored a comprehensive guide titled Birds of Prey of the Indian Subcontinent)

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First Published: Fri, May 17 2013. 21:23 IST