Birder Profile: Vidhya Sundar


Vidhya Sundar is a mainstay on the “recent visit” page for Bangalore district on eBird India, and she enjoys birding as one of her many hobbies. Read on to find out more about her:

1. Please tell us a bit about yourself. What do you do and where do you live?

I was born and brought up in Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu and I’m currently residing in Bangalore. I am a home baker and homemaker. My other interests include candle making, making rangolis, chocolate making, dancing and cooking.

2. When and how did you get interested in birding?

In 2012, once my son Guhan Sundar’s friend Poojith Prakash had invited us to join a birding outing he was going to. Having no prior knowledge in birdwatching, I found it quite fascinating. Later my neighbour Vidyut Jauhari introduced me to the BngBirds group, Bengaluru’s local birding community. Since then my interest levels have been on the surge and there is no turning back.

3. Do you have a favourite bird or birds? Why is it/are they your favourite?

Indian Peafowl and Indian Paradise Flycatcher are my favourite, as they are beautiful and majestic. Spotted Owlets are also my favourite, as they are the cutest of all the birds I have ever seen.

4. Where do you enjoy birding the most?

I enjoy birding everywhere and I bird wherever I go. I have checklists from railway stations, bus stops, long drives. My day begins with birding from my terrace. We stay close to Madiwala Lake and the birds that fly over at dawn and dusk interest me a lot. Every day there will be a surprise. So I never get bored.

Black-headed Ibis flying over Vidhya Sundar’s terrace © Vidhya Sundar

5. Do you have a birding partner or a group you enjoy birding with? How is birding alone different from birding with others?

My son is my first inspiration for birding. He joins me whenever possible. He makes plans for me and sets some personal targets like covering new places or lakes. Besides that, I join the birders from Bangalore occasionally on Sundays.

Even though the chances of spotting more species becomes less, birding alone gives me a peaceful experience. When we go in a group it is more interactive and we learn from each other.

6. Anything on the birding bucket list? (Doesn’t have to be a bird; it could be a place, witnessing a phenomena, etc)

Pelagic birding trip with experts and witnessing a huge migration. Travel across India and hopefully, go global.

7. Has eBird changed how you bird? How?

eBird definitely changed the way I bird. Initially, I had understood birding as going to special places and watching birds. But when eBird encouraged us to bird from our balcony or workplace and that the rarity of species didn’t matter, it made me start my everyday terrace birding along with my fitness routine. So it was a 2-in-1 activity. Also, the monthly and yearly challenges announced by eBird keep my birding going incessantly.

8. Have you set any birding/eBirding goals for the coming months?

My goal is to be the Last Birder Standing and also be in the eBirder list of every month by achieving the targets set by eBird.

9. What is your message for fellow eBirders?

Each and every bird you observe and submit on eBird helps improve the data for that region. I realised that during the Tamil Birders’ Meet in Tirunelveli when the venue of the meet became the third largest hotspot in the district in just 2 days’ time.

So, there are many places around you for which your data could be useful. Also, try to kindle interest in birding amongst kids.

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