Studying Birds

Students at IIFM can decide to do the wildest things as part of their summer internships. From studying finance, marketing, organizational behaviour or strategic management to running after birds in forests, nothing is impossible for the IIFM student!

I got unique opportunity of having my summer Internship at Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun where I had Dr. K. Ramesh as my guide who has done some tremendous work in the field of ornithology.

My project title was “Occupancy pattern of riverine birds in upper Ganges in Uttarakhand”. For this I was supposed to travel along both Bhagirathi and Alaknanda river basin during which I got an opportunity to visit even some of the dharmsthals which I had never imagined to visit so early in my lifeJ.

Anyways my field started from Rishikesh to Gangotri on one side and to Badrinath and Gamshali village on the other side. It was as adventurous a trip as was a learning one. Starting from searching a hotel for a stay to talking to different kinds of people to exploring different streams of river for my study was an experience on its own. I travelled almost 1000km for this study on four wheelers and walked no less than 100 km on foot.

For my project I was supposed to record seven different riverine birds – Wagtails, Kingfishers, Redstarts, Dippers, Blue Whistling Thrush, Forktails and Wallcreepers along both the river basins. So from Rishikesh my search for accessible streams of river started. What felt like an easy and predictable job on map turned out to be a very uncertain one on field. The plan was to walk 1km along the river, search for these target species then again drive for 10km and repeat the same. But the conditions were so different on field that it ended up with me doing big and long treks. Nonetheless it was worth doing which I will always cherish for my whole life.

My trip led me to some beautiful places like Harsil which can be the Switzerland of India, Gamshali village which is the second last village at China border and many more. The scenes of snow clad mountains, beautiful apple orchards and huge diversity of birds and butterflies made this trip one of its kind. The diversity of birds was so different from the ones found in Bhopal and I found almost more than 100 new species that I had never ever seen before here in Bhopal.

On one of my trip to Alaknanda I was accompanied by few people who were working on vegetation and moths which taught me so many new things about both these areas that I would have never imagined of learning on my own.

Apart from gaining on field learnings, this project provided me with a chance to learn a whole new software for the analysis of my data. I was required to learn PRESENCE software. The beauty of this modeling process is that it also takes into account imperfect detections i.e. if we don’t spot a bird or hear their voice then that doesn’t negate the availability of that species at that particular site.

The question raised by Evan Cooch “If a bird sings in the forest, but the investigator fails to detect it, is the forest occupied?” is very beautifully answered by this modeling process.

I also volunteered for a tiger monitoring project at Panna tiger reserve just after the completion of my field work where I got to see not only herbivores like Cheetal, Chinkara, Nilgai from just 50 metres away but was also fortunate enough to see two cubs of tiger along with their mother from a distance of a mere 10 metres and I must admit that I have never seen such a magnificent creature ever.

Overall it was one an experience of a life time- one which I can never forget.

Note: This is a sponsored article and has NOT been written by the PaGaLGuY Editorial Team. It is intended from an informational perspective only and it is upto the readers to research and verify the claims and judgements in the article before reaching a conclusion.