M. Krishnan (1912-1996) is widely regarded as one of the finest naturalists the country has ever produced. A brilliant writer and photographer, his writing was showcased to fine effect in a newspaper column called ‘Country Notebook’ which appeared continuously in the Sunday Statesman for about forty-six years. Although two posthumous books that feature his photographs and writing have been published—Nature’s Spokesman edited by Ramachandra Guha and Eye of the Jungle edited by Ashish and Shanthi Chandola and T. N. A. Perumal—Of Birds and Birdsong is the first collection of Krishnan’s writings that focuses exclusively on birds. Krishnan was awarded the Padma Shri in 1969.
Krishnan read avidly in different genres. He loved crime fiction and the work of Raymond Chandler, Agatha Christie and Colin Dexter, among others. He read Tamil and English poetry, and would often quote from both, especially Shakespeare.
Krishnan appreciated art and spent quite a lot of time visiting old temples and taking photographs of temple sculpture. He was a serious photographer and even constructed his own camera, which he called the ‘Superponderosa’.