It’s a universal pass time at IIT Kanpur – checking out birds. And why not, some 103 varieties of them have made the campus their home. Thankfully, a big bunch of students and professors are not only bird enthusiasts but also keen photographers and many of the rare birds photos have been shot and saved for posterity.
Students have also been collecting data as part of a bigger national research project called Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC), part of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society. “My interest in photography grew manifold after I joined IIT Kanpur. It’s a hobby now, and I make it a point to spend a few hours in photography. It has developed my interests in knowing the different species of birds as well,” says Nikhil, who is in the first year at IIT Kanpur.
Crimson-Breasted Barbet, Brown Rock Chat, Purple Sunbird, Lesser Golden-backed Woodpecker are just a few of the varieties spotted inside IIT Kanpur. Few of the frequently visited spots by birds include the hostel garden, lawns inside the campus, the little reservoir near the mango orchard beyond the airstrip close to IIT Kanpur. “Even if it’s not for photography, or bird watching as a hobby, one does spot a few rare species by default. These spots are the best to hang out in the early mornings if anyone is really interested.” says Kaustubh a third-year student.
Efforts are taken by the students of the Nature club in IIT Kanpur to organise small events to spot the variety of birds and increase interest among students. IIT Kanpur is just 32 kilometres away from the Nawabganj Bird sanctuary of Uttar Pradesh. This explains why the campus is frequented by these winged creatures, and captures the interests of scores of students who are studying as well as those who have passed out of IIT Kanpur.