(Maintained by IDSFFK Media Cell)

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Caught on camera: The Great Indian Hornbill

A beautiful plumage, striking casque and above all an interesting lifecycle—all these peculiarities of the Great Indian Hornbill was well captured in the short film 'The Great Indian Hornbill’s Symphony of Life' which was screened before a packed audience at the IDSFFK on Sunday. 
 Biju Pankaj, a journalist-turned-documentary filmmaker, took almost one and a half years to capture rare visuals of the bird. The filmmaker had originally started to document the reproductive lifecycle of the Indian Hornbill as a news story for the channel he was working. However, a detailed research into the topic inspired him to learn more about this species which is losing its habitat due to extensive deforestation and poaching.

Biju had shot the film in multiple locations like Muthumalai, Valparai and Thekkaddy. "Shooting a shy bird like hornbill is really difficult. Human presence would make the bird leave its nest; if it happens, the female hornbill and its fledglings will starve to death. So we had to take extra care while shooting," Biju said.

He added that the Great Indian Hornbill leads a familial life unlike many other birds. The male of the family will tend the female during the two-month-incubation period. During that time, he will be more cautious in picking food for the female and taking care of the nest and its premises. 

According to Biju, this is one of the rare documentaries made on the subject. "Except for the visuals of National Geographic Channel and that of a few enthusiastic wildlife filmmakers, no other footages of the Great Indian Hornbills during their reproductive period are available. We used a minimal crew to shoot the film and completed it using a single camera", he said.
He had to wait for 18 days to shoot the most significant part of the film -- the emerging of hornbill fledgling out to the world. Binu Thomas, the cameraman, said that he was quite excited to shoot that sequence. "On the 19th day, the bird came out of the nest and flew quite a few metres before perching on a branch nearby," said Binu. Binu's hardwork had earned him a national award for Best Cinematographer in the National Science Film Festival.

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