Vijaya Lakshmi Rao has been birding for almost three decades and her passion for winged creatures is ceaseless. Read on to find out more about one of Karnataka’s top birders.
1. Please tell us bit about yourself. What do you do and where do you live?
I was born in Udupi, following which I stayed in Mysore for a few years. Now I live in a village called Muddahalli in Nanjangud Taluk with my parents. I work for Canara Bank at Mysore and I practice organic farming.
2. When and how did you get interested in Birding?
I started birding regularly when I was in Mysore in 1990. Friends from a group called Mysore Amateur Naturalists used to help me a lot to try and identify birds. Before that, whenever I visited my native place at Udupi, I used to watch birds without binoculars and without knowing their names.
3. Do you have a favourite bird or birds? Why is it/are they your favourite?
I love and respect all birds. The Bar-headed Goose is one of my favourites. It’s ability to fly at a very high altitude to cross the Himalayas and reach their winter grounds in peninsular India amazes me. I am also very fond of waders.
4. Where do you enjoy birding the most?
I enjoy birding at a waterbody called Narasambudhi near my home in Nanjangud. This wetland has suitable habitat for both aquatic as well as terrestrial birds. Since I live well outside the urban landscape of Mysore, my backyard is quite woody and I love birding near my home.
5. Do you have a birding partner or a group you enjoy birding with? How is birding alone different from birding with others?
Even though I bird alone most of the time, I do enjoy birding with friends from Mysore. When we bird in a group/with friends, we learn new things. There will be good chance to find more birds.
6. Anything on the birding bucket List? (Doesn’t have to be a bird, could be a place, witnessing a phenomena, etc)
I wish to see all the bird species which are possible to see in my state (Karnataka). Looking beyond, I want to visit Mishmi Hills in Arunachal Pradesh for birding.
I have a great wish to visit birding hotspots at Arunachal Pradesh, West Bengal.
7. Has eBird changed how you bird? How?
eBird has definitely helped me a lot in learning about birds. Ever since I was first introduced to eBird by Shri Adavanne Shivaprakash from Mysore, I have been entering all my observations on it.
Earlier I used to make notes, most of which are now lost. Whenever I travel to a new place, I now know where to go birding by looking at the observations made by other eBirders.
8. Have you set any birding goals for the coming months?
My goal for coming months is to visit new locations apart from the places I regularly visit in Nanjangud Taluk.
9. What is your message for fellow birders?
Please follow ethical practices while birding. Never disturb any bird for the sake of good images. Birding is a great hobby which gives one a peaceful and healthy mind.
The more we know about the birds, the more they amaze us with the things they do.