May 21, 2022

Birder Profile- Vizz Vishwanath

“I came across an Oriental Scops-Owl,  and a year after, I also found a Striolated Bunting. These are some of the incredible sightings as they were the first record for Raichur” – says Vizz Vishwanath, an ardent birder, and naturalist from Raichur, Karnataka. Read on to know how he got interested in birds and what are the birding goals he has set for this year!

1. Please tell us a little about yourself. Where do you live and what do you do?

I am Vishwanath aka Vizz- a name given to me by a senior birder many years ago. I am from Raichur, Karnataka, working as a naturalist in the Kali Tiger Reserve, Dandeli. In 2019, I started my career as a naturalist in Kanha Tiger Reserve and have also worked in Bandhavgarh National Park until Jan 2021. However, due to the pandemic and personal reasons I had to leave my career and come back to Karnataka. Before this, I had worked in Sirsi, Uttara Kannada where I honed my birding skills.
2. When and how did you get interested in birding?
I was introduced to birds in childhood by my cousin. He was a bird enthusiast who used to rescue and rehab birds at my grandmother’s house. This interest in birds got deeply rooted in me while growing up.  Although I couldn’t identify them, I used to enjoy watching them and was fascinated by their behaviour. After high school, I got into the technical field (E&C Engg) and that was very tough for me since there was no time to go birding or do any other activities. I quit E&C Engg so that I could spend more time in nature and continue my hobby of birding. Around this time is when I got serious about this hobby. In 2017, I started photographing birds around me and when I was unable to identify them, I referred to Salim Ali’s field guide- The Book of Indian Birds. The book made a big influence on my birding and my aim became to document each and every species of birds found in Raichur. I made a small team of 3 and we started exploring and recording birds. We documented 200+ birds in a span of 16 months. This was later presented at the Karnataka Bird Festival in 2019. Soon the hobby of birdwatching turned into a profession. Since then I have volunteered for bird censuses and surveys and have written articles for the Deccan Herald and a few magazines.
During the pandemic when everyone was indoors, I was out exploring the wilderness of Raichur. I  came across an Oriental Scops-Owl, and that too in Raichur! This was the first record for this region. And a year later I found another rarity for Raichur- Striolated Bunting (which ended up as a publication in IndianBirds).
3. Do you have a favourite bird or birds? Why is it/are they your favourite?
Malabar Trogon was my favourite birds since 2015. That dream was fulfilled when I got the opportunity to work in the Western Ghats. Now I feel they are like my family  (Hehehe).
One of the birds that I would like on my life list is the Bearded Vulture. Apart from these, I would love to see a Peregrine Falcon in action- folding its wings, swooping thousands of feet through the air at an incredible speed, and catching its prey.
4. Where do you enjoy birding the most?
I enjoy birding in the place I grew up (Raichur).
5. Do you have a birding partner or a group you enjoy birding with? How is birding alone different from birding with others?
We, the team of 3 often used to go exploring new sites for birding. The team got divided as the other two are busy with their career. These days I enjoy birding on my own and wherever I go I have my binoculars and camera with me.
6. Anything on the birding bucket list? (Doesn’t have to be a bird, could be a place, witnessing a phenomenon, etc)
Birding bucket list, Bearded vulture scape and the bird feeding on the bones that’s something I wish for!
7. Has eBird changed how you bird? How?
eBird is like my daily newspaper that I check several times a day. It has been my guide, my guru, for me during the initial days of birding. It helps me to identify birds, and learn more about them. Through the species maps, I could find out details on distribution, migration, and breeding ranges.
Thanks to Abhiram G Sankar – an eBirder and my guru to introduce me to eBird!
8. Have you set any birding goals for the coming months?
Yes, my birding goal for this season is to see as many endemic birds as possible in the Western Ghats. I hope to achieve this goal since I’m here for the whole year.
9. What is your message for fellow birders?
Here is a small message to my fellow birders:
In this generation, the busy life takes a toll on people often making them stressed, and depressed. And birding can be very therapeutic. Start watching birds or spending time with nature and no matter how hard your day has been, you would find yourself refreshed and rejuvenated.

Header Image: Bearded Vulture (Lammergeier) Gypaetus barbatus ©Parmil Kumar/ Macaulay Library

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ದೇವದುರ್ಗ ಮಂದಿ

ನಮ್ಮ ರಾಯಚೂರಿನ ಅದ್ಭುತ ಛಾಯಾಗ್ರಾಹಕರು ಪಕ್ಷಿಗಳ ಪ್ರೇಮಿ ನಮ್ಮ vizz ಅವರಿಗೆ congratulations ತುಂಬಾ ಸಂತೋಷವಾಯಿತು bro ನಿಮ್ಮ article ನೋಡಿ !!

Guru Prasad
Guru Prasad
1 month ago

Very nice. Good going .

Nitin Hunnalli
Nitin Hunnalli
1 month ago

ಸೂಪರ್ ಬ್ರೋ

1 month ago

Congratulations to the dreams u have achieved n made us proud till now..!! ❤️ Wish u best forever..!! ❤️

1 month ago

nice work !!!! Best wishes

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