BNHS workshop at Karnala: This weekend, learn to name the birds around you | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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BNHS workshop at Karnala: This weekend, learn to name the birds around you

The Bombay Natural History Society is holding a two-day workshop that includes a field trip to the Karnala bird sanctuary, about 47 kms from Bombay-Bengaluru Highway.

mumbai Updated: Jun 03, 2017 08:39 IST
Rachel Lopez
Youngsters during a previous birding trip to the Karnala sanctuary. Asif Khan of the BNHS says, wherever you live in Mumbai, there are likely to be varieties of birds around.
Youngsters during a previous birding trip to the Karnala sanctuary. Asif Khan of the BNHS says, wherever you live in Mumbai, there are likely to be varieties of birds around.(Asif N Khan)
Bird identification for beginners
  • WHEN: June 3 and 4
  • WHERE: The audio-visual talk is at Hornbill House, Kala Ghoda, at 3.30 pm on June 3. The field trip to the Karnala bird sanctuary is on June 4
  • COST: Rs 3,000, inclusive of travel to the sanctuary
  • TO REGISTER: Call Hornbill House on 2287-1202, 2282-1811 or e-mail bnhs.programmes@gmail.com

Priya Fonseca Moizuddin was a child when her dad brought home a book on Indian birds. “The pictures were so beautiful, I was hooked,” she recalls. The family went bird-spotting to Mumbai’s parks and farms.

She grew up to marry into the family of Salim Ali, the ornithologist often called India’s birdman. In 2014, Moizuddin, a content writer and voice artist, participated in the Great Backyard Bird Count, a crowd-sourced tally of avian species around the world.

“In one evening, I saw 11 species from my 11th floor apartment in Chembur,” she says. She’ll soon be out with a children’s book on the birds of Bharatpur in Rajasthan.

For those with an interest in birding but no experience, it’s a hobby that’s hard to get off the ground. YouTube tutorials are of little help. The guidebook-binoculars method is slow. And with 1,500 bird species in India, you may be overwhelmed as soon as you start.

The Bombay Natural History Society’s two-day workshop in bird identification addresses exactly these concerns. It’s aimed at beginners and kicks off with an audio-visual talk and a rare peek at preserved bird specimens from the BNHS collection. Practical lessons follow, with a field trip to the Karnala bird sanctuary.

“With guidebooks and binoculars now easily available, birding is becoming an increasingly popular hobby,” says BNHS’s associate officer, Asif Khan, who will conduct the programme. Digital cameras and camera phones have helped too. “Everyone wants likes on Facebook for their bird shots.”

Khan, who has also written the material for the BNHS’s one-year online course in ornithology, hopes to do advanced sessions later, taking enthusiasts step by step into the world of birds. “Formal training and practical knowledge can accelerate interest in birding,” Moizuddin says. “I wish all this had been available when I was starting out.”

Once you’ve got your skills, you don’t have to go far to test them. Khan says there’s a range of birds within 5 km of your home, no matter where you live in Mumbai. “You’ll spot them at mudflats, mangroves, a national park, a race course and in small gardens,” he adds. “You just have to know how to look.”