Researchers’ Corner
Tarun Menon

Tarun Menon

"Growing up in the city of Mumbai I spent a lot of time at the zoo and in nearby gardens. I also used to look forward to visiting my grandparents in Kerala and meeting the local temple elephants. In hindsight, I understand the complexity of keeping wild animals in captivity, but it was a learning experience, nonetheless."

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Sonam Chorol

Sonam Chorol

"After a while, I could see that one after another, the whole group was falling into the net. The 15 meters long mist-net was full of Babblers and it was giving us thrill and excitement. There were around 12 babblers in a single net out of which 4 were recaptures and all were making whining calls. The cacophony of calls was so loud that it would almost puncture my eardrum."

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Nilutpal Mahanta, PhD

Nilutpal Mahanta, PhD

"During my PhD field work, I mistakenly entered a private property (as there was no demarcation between Government land and private property) and the consequences were not good. The owner came running towards us, cursing us on the top of his voice. So much was their anger that the lady owner even tried to throw sharp knives at us, assuming we were trespassers. It took us almost an hour to calm them down and make them understand our work."

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Anushka Rege

Anushka Rege

" I also remember that summer of 2016, where in a month I was lucky to hear elephants and see Malabar trogon for the first time! I ended up sighting Malabar trogons again a couple of times, and immediately after, we saw some dhole adults and pups who were feasting on a sambar by the river. I was torn, where do I look? Up at the canopy, or down towards the dholes! I did a bit of both."

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Harindra Baraiya

Harindra Baraiya

"After several flocks flying above or away from the net, eventually, a flock flew almost through the net and the first bird got trapped. Our trapping expert Ganibhai ran into the water and carefully removed the crane from the net. It was a healthy Common Crane, totally fit for tagging. After weeks of effort, we tagged our first crane! It was an amazing experience and learning for me. The learnings during the 2020 winter season helped us in successfully tagging six more cranes during our expedition in 2022, but the first tagging will always remain special for me."

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Soniya Devi Yambem

Soniya Devi Yambem

"Observing birds and their surrounding nature every day in the field helped me develop a curiosity about the birds: what are they eating, why some are vocalizing while others are not, why a particular call makes the whole group fly and seek shelter even if it is not the call of its own species, and so on. This innate curiosity expressed itself naturally and that is how the decision to follow a career in the field of ornithology was made for me."

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Pranjal Mahananda

Pranjal Mahananda

"I never knew anything about bird watching until my Masters. Before that, I knew some local names of common birds like sparrows, mynas and crows; all the other birds were just a ‘yellow bird’, ‘brown bird’ and ‘green bird’ for me. Most people go birding to their backyards, forests or wetlands. Well, my birding journey started from Guwahati garbage dump yard (not a great place to be at, unless you are a birder!!), observing the foraging and feeding of hundreds of endangered Greater Adjutant Storks!"

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Aksheeta Mahapatra

Aksheeta Mahapatra

”I got her to my field station in a hat filled with dry husk to keep her warm. She was there in my room for the next three weeks until she had developed feathers all over her body. We named the chick “Shimsha”, after the river which flows through the village. I used to keep her covered with cotton, layers of cloth and inside a wooden box of dry husk and eucalyptus leaves. During those three weeks, I got to know about the different versions of her vocalisations, when she was hungry, when she required attention and when she was feeling too hot inside the box. We used to spend hours and hours together, sitting outside the room ensuring she gets sufficient sunlight to grow her feathers. Our bond grew stronger with each passing day as I was witnessing the different stages of her life.”

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Jobin Varughese

Jobin Varughese

"The grainy black-and-white set of moving images showed us a fuzzy outline of our predator - an Asian palm civet - dipping its muzzle into the opening of the nest box and pulling out Shama chicks one after the other within its jaws. After each dip, we could hear tiny bones being crushed with unusual haste and little cheeps discontinuing abruptly. The last video showed the animal attempting one final go at the nest box before disappearing out of the frame. The videos showed the goriest event I have watched in the avian world (in real life or otherwise)."

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Ankita Sinha, PhD

Ankita Sinha, PhD

"Ornithological research is not just leisure birdwatching and enjoying the wilderness. It involves writing grants to secure funds, arranging logistics and networking with the right people. Being in the field and watching birds may be the most amusing part but this comes with designing a proper study to collect data, mastering analytical skills and finally disseminating results to the academic and non-academic world. A good starting point would be to learn from resources around, writing to people of relevant interests and expertise and engaging in discussions with peers."

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