Fantastic Birds and Where to Spot Them
Avian Allies, the Birders’ Club of CHRIST (Deemed to be University), Pune Lavasa Campus organized the talk “Fantastic Birds and Where to Spot Them”. Conducted online by Mr. Avishkar Munje on 27th September 2023, the primary objective of the session was to equip attendees with basic knowledge regarding birdwatching and bird identification. The Emcee for the session introduced the speaker touching upon his vast experience in the field of ornithology. Currently a visiting faculty for Environmental Awareness, Ecology, Environmental Biotechnology and Biostatistics at Fergusson College, Pune, Mr Munje has been observing nature for the past fifteen years. With a Masters in Wildlife Biology and Conservation from NCBS, Bangalore and Bachelors in Environmental Science from Fergusson College, Pune, he has carried out numerous research projects on topics like bird communities and grassland ecosystems. Mr. Munje began the session by elucidating how birds have always been a part of our culture and civilization, be it the dodo or the owl that feature in paintings from ancient and medieval times. He went on to provide a brief history of ornithology in India covering prominent persons and their work in the field, such as Dr Salim Ali, Mr. A O Hume, Mr. Ramana Athreya and Mr. Satish Pande.
He then briefly touched upon the variety of bird species found in different parts of the Indian subcontinent from the Grasslands to the Himalayas. He also provided an overview of various endemic, endangered and extinct species. The discussion moved on to bird identification using four key indicators namely size and shape, behaviour, habitat and colour pattern. Mr Munje recommended some field guides that can assist in bird identification such as Birds of the Indian Subcontinent by Grimmett and Inskipp. Drawing upon his extensive knowledge, he shared details regarding some common species that can be spotted easily in urban areas.
Further he introduced the attendees to species they are most likely to spot at Lavasa, with its favourable location in the South Western Ghats. Towards the end of the session, he listed a few simple arrangements that can help create a friendly environment for birds such as building water baths, providing bird nests, placing bird feeders, planting fruit trees and shrubs and monitoring birds through apps like eBird. The session concluded with an interactive Q&A segment, where students posed questions related to some common bird species they had observed as well as the role of citizen science initiatives in conserving bird species.
The session ended with a vote of thanks. The talk was an enriching experience as Mr. Munje shared his knowledge of the field of ornithology in a lucid and interesting way. The seasoned birders as well as the attendees who were new to birding could gather rich insights from the session regarding the types, habitat and behaviour of birds. They also gained knowledge regarding bird watching and bird identification along with useful tips on creating a friendly environment for birds in our campus. The talk served as a fitting prequel to the upcoming Bird-a-thon event.
OUTCOMES OF THE EVENT
Outcome 1: Acquire knowledge regarding the bird species of the Indian Subcontinent
Outcome 2: Gain basic understanding of bird watching and identification