Subhadra Devi is a regular eBirder and an avid traveller from Bangalore with an infectious enthusiasm for birds and birding. Find out what makes her tick…
1. Please tell us a bit about yourself. What do you do and where do you live?
I live in Bangalore. I worked in the IT sector until a couple of years back. However, I love travelling and the job I held was not very conducive to the amount of travelling I wanted to do. So I quit my job and now I do all the things I wanted to do but couldn’t while I was working.
2. When and how did you get interested in Birding?
Once while traveling in Arunachal Pradesh, my co-travellers and I landed up in Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary by mistake. Even now, we do not know how that place ended up in our itinerary. We landed there and then figured out that it is a sanctuary popular for birds. So the first time I went birding was in Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary!
Earlier too, I had seen the Indian Paradise Flycatcher and the Indian Pitta in my garden during the winters, but I did not know their names at the time. After the trip to Eaglenest, I started observing all the birds in my garden and photographing them.
3. Do you have a favourite bird or birds? Why is it/are they your favourite?
I like all birds, with no exceptions. The Indian Paradise Flycatcher was the first bird I photographed in my garden and so it is special.
4. Where do you enjoy birding the most?
My garden. During the winters, I just need to look out of my living room window to see a Brown-breasted flycatcher sitting on one of the pomegranate trees and catching insects, or sometimes, like today morning, an Indian Pitta pulling an earthworm out.
Unfortunately, the luxury of birding in the garden might not be last too long. My garden is supported by a lot of greenery in the layout where I live. Now a days when ever someone builds a house, they cut off all the trees around and replace the grass with concrete on the ground. So I am trying to cherish the birds in my garden while they are still around. The other place I love birding in is North-east India.
5. Do you have a birding partner or a group you enjoy birding with? How is birding alone different from birding with others?
In Bangalore there are a lot of birders and I enjoy going out birding with small groups of birders. There are a few Whatsapp groups where birders share their birding plans and I join them. I am a newbie birder and I have learnt a lot by being in these groups.
I enjoy birding alone as well, as I can go at my own pace and often, just stop and stay at one place and observe all the bird activity around.
6. Anything on the birding bucket List? (Doesn’t have to be a bird, could be a place, witnessing a phenomena, etc)
7. Do you use eBird? Has eBird changed how you bird? How?
I discovered eBird when I started birding itself. I record all my sightings on eBird. I check out the list of birds sighted in a place before I travel as it gives me an idea on what to expect. I also download the list in the eBird app before I start birding at a new place and I find it easier to record the species I see that way. I also have a need to know what common birds I couldn’t spot. For me eBird has made birding a wholesome experience.
8. Have you set any birding goals for the coming months?
I don’t have any goals as such. I just want to keep birding as much as possible. I would like to see all the possible birds visible in Bangalore soon, but that is not something that motivates me as such.
9. What is your message for fellow birders?
I usually tell parents that if their kids develop a love for reading, their lives would turn out better. Nowadays, I am tempted to tell parents that if their kids develop a love for birds and nature, they would grow up to be well-rounded adults.
In the last few days, I have taken many kids in my neighbourhood out for birding. I was pleasantly surprised by their enthusiasm and eagerness to learn about birds. I plan to continue doing this on a regular basis. My message to fellow birders would be to introduce more and more kids and adults to birding.
Cover Image: Indian Paradise Flycatcher © Sivaguru Noopuran PRS/ML Library at the Cornell Lab