Please tell us a bit about yourself. What do you do and where do you live?
My name is Ezra Rynjah. I am currently a Research Affiliate with an NGO called Conservation Initiatives, wherein we work in different parts of Northeast India, collaborating with communities to implement evidence-based conservation. I am currently based in Shillong, where I also pursue projects in forestry and landscaping.
When and how did you get interested in birding?
I was always keen on being in the outdoors and birding was suggested to me by many people I met as I was growing up. However, I only really took to it until I was pursuing my undergraduate degree in Environmental Science. There I made some good friends with whom I started birding and, together, we would conduct bird walks open to others from our college.
Do you have a favourite bird or birds? Why is it/are they your favourite?
I don’t quite have a favourite as I think each one has a quirk that appeals to me. That being said, I do love the shape of bee-eaters as they fly or sally.
Where do you enjoy birding the most?
Birding in Bhutan was a treat for me. The birds were so tame that one could photograph them with a smartphone! Of course, in complete contrast, I do enjoy birding in Northeast India too – the hunter-wary birds are a challenge to see, let alone get a picture of, and that makes their sighting even sweeter!
Do you have a birding partner or a group you enjoy birding with? How is birding alone different from birding with others?
Yes, in fact I have quite a few birding partners who I enjoy going out birding with. I like the fact that I can share my excitement of seeing a bird with others who would also appreciate the sight! It’s also hilarious when we try to tell the other person where we’ve spotted a bird and, out of excitement, forget our senses – “look there a Black Baza! where? on that tree… which one??? the one with the leaves!” Birding alone is also enjoyable in a different way and I find it quite meditative having to listen and watch quietly.
Anything on the birding bucket list? (Doesn’t have to be a bird, could be a place, witnessing a phenomenon, etc)
As cliche as it might be, I would love to visit Papua New Guinea and see the birds of paradise found there and I’d like to do it with a couple of birding buddies of mine!
Has eBird changed how you bird? How?
eBird has made me more conscientious about counting birds, which is actually not too difficult to do, and adds much more information than a simple species list.
Have you set any birding goals for the coming months?
A simple goal that I have set for myself is to bird everyday! A different challenge for myself this year is to see the Tawny-breasted Wren-Babbler and the Dark-rumped Swift, both being endemic to my state of Meghalaya.
Remember to have fun and to share the joy of birding with those around you!