Sangli: Tired of the "Bhaag Milkha Bhaag" song 'Zinda' ringtone playing on your phone? Why not try the original bird calls of the green-backed tit or the chestnut-breasted partridge instead?
Sangli-based Ornithologist Sharad Apte has compiled a virtual billboard of original bird calls from the forests of northeastern India, cropping them into mobile phone ringtones that can be downloaded online.
According to Apte, who has been documenting the sounds of birds in the Indian forests for years now, these have been captured using special equipment in the wild, natural habitat, mostly in the Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary in Arunachal Pradesh.
"These bird calls and songs are recorded live. It is a treasure trove from the northeast for all bird-watchers and nature lovers," Apte told IANS in an interview.
Situated at the foothills of the Himalaya mountains, the Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary is located in West Kameng district and is flanked by an orchid sanctuary on one end and the Pakhui tiger reserve on the other. The sanctuary boasts of over 400 species of birds, several of which have been recorded by Apte and reduced to mobile ring tones for the first time.
"I chose birds from the northeast as they are melodious and generally not easily accessible to most people because of the remoteness of the region," Apte said.
He further said that while there are electronically generated bird calls available in the market, the original calls recorded in the wild, once cleared of the ambience and noise, had their own magical appeal, even when played on mobile phones.
"An electronic machine cannot generate Lata Mangeshkar's voice," he said, adding that the idea for original bird calls as mobile ringtones hit him some time back.
"I had once transferred a bird call to my phone and suddenly realized that no one around had a ringtone like the one I had," he said.
A pack of 10 bird calls featuring the beautiful sibia, grey sibia, bugun liocichla, chestnut breasted partridge, green backed tit, large hawk cuckoo, silver eared mesia, striated laughing thrush, streak-throated barwing and the wedge-billed wren babbler costs around Rs 500, while an individual bird call download from www.birdcalls.info is priced at Rs 75.
"All of them are around 30 sec or more in duration and are recoded in stereo Mp3 format, with a 32-bit rate," he said.
A banker by trade until some years back, Apte gave up his day job to make recordings of bird calls his only passion and vocation. He said he has recorded nearly 403 bird species in India and the money from the downloads would help him further his research and documentation.
(Mayabhushan Nagvenkar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)