Sanctuary Celebrates Playback Free Week
Come join us as we celebrate ''Playback Free Week' starting August 13, 2018. Say no to playback and yes to responsible birding!
If the term ‘birdsong playback’ sounds unfamiliar, we congratulate you, for you have managed to keep away from the obtrusive practice. To those who have indulged in it, knowingly or unknowingly, we urge you to think twice.
Birdwatchers and photographers often use recordings of birdsongs using little playback devices to draw out rare and elusive bird species. While the use of playback was earlier limited to scientists or to a few serious birders, it has now grown into a widespread trend. Used by birders to complete their birdwatchers list, by tour guides to earn a hefty tip from wide-eyed tourists and by wildlife photographers in a race to win another award-winning picture, birdsong playback is becoming a menace.
Recent research has proved that this practice has substantial negative impacts on bird species. Responding to call-playback can be harmful as it can cause stress, serious expenditure of energy and pair-breakups in birds proving disruptive. Call playback during breeding season can distract adults from courtship, territory defending and other tasks pertinent to successful breeding.
Birding expert and author, Sumit Sen, says, “Call-aided photography is akin to machan hunting with beaters. All you have to show at the end is a cowardly acquired trophy of an animal in distress. 1,000 Facebook likes will be drowned by the next 2,000, but the memory of observing a Shama joyously calling its mate at dawn from a high perch will linger forever. If only we gave up trying to buy satisfaction and instead find satisfaction for ourselves!”
Our advice: Do not encourage the practice of using playback to sight birds, especially for rare and endangered species.
To endorse the practice of ethical birding and discourage the use of playback, we at Sanctuary are celebrating "Playback free week" , starting August 13, 2018. One little story, each day of the week, from experts in the field, will bear testament to the practice of responsible birding and photography.
As we go through the week, sharing these stories, we would like to invite tales of similar experiences from our audience. Share with us your birding story, a picture of the bird you photographed, and earn your badge of honour--an exclusive playback free badge, designed by Rohan Chakravarty.
Flaunt the badge on your social media, spread awareness about birdsong-playback and let people know, that you are one cool bird(er)!
Share your experience by writing to us at