By P.T. Bopanna

Dr S.V. Narasimhan (in picture), an avid bird-watcher and medical practitioner from Virajpet in Coorg, makes it a point to send me hand-painted wildlife message cards every year without fail.

This year the special wildlife messenger is the Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch (Sitta castanea in picture).  A restless, tree climbing, sparrow-sized bird with a slender bill. It has a wide foot with long toes to grasp the bark of the tree. Moves on the tree with jerky hops and it is a splendour to see the bird descending upside down, looking for spiders, insects and seeds. It makes its nest in the tree holes or crevices, lined with leaves, moss and cotton.

Total of hand-painted cards made: this year 1,970; in 33 years 66,430. Total recipients: this year 1,160; in 33 years 11,463.

The message cards are individually hand-painted and sent free to individuals throughout the world to mark the Wildlife Week. 

Because of his relentless efforts to save the environment, Dr Narasimhan was selected ‘Coorg Person of the Year’, in 2013.

 For previous years’ messages, please visit at:

 For more info on bird-watching in Coorg, check out the link below:


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