Participant Profile: Fionna Prins

This entry was posted Saturday, 21 April, 2012 at 3:22 pm

Where do you live?
I live in beautiful Goa, in a small village called Pilerne, about 4 km inland from the famous beaches. I stay in an old house which has a large unkempt garden which is visited by lots of birds.

When did you start watching birds?
I must have always been watching birds because my mother tells me that when I was about two she took me to a zoo, and apparently I only had eyes for the sparrows and starlings that were picking near the elephant’s feet, ignoring the big animals completely! Later, when I went to secondary school I had to cycle 15 km every day to get there. Most other kids would take the bus but I always enjoyed the rides because it went through a large lake area with lots of birds.

Who would you consider your birding mentor?
Nobody in particular but I do find that birding platforms on the web are a fantastic way to learn and exchange information.

Please describe a memorable birding experience.
One day, many years ago, during the first year of my bicycle rides to school, I saw two swans peeking through the reeds from their nest. Every year they would come back to the same place and we would eye each other twice a day, every day for weeks until they would appear on the lake with the new brood. Every year again it felt like a wonder.

What are your favourite migrants?
Well, it is always exciting to see every new arrival again. The Amur falcons always create a lot of interest but I am just as happy to see the tree pipits, pied cuckoos and rosy starlings coming back. Where we live there is also a lot of local migration which brings their own little marvels. Each arrival, each sighting, even of the most common birds, gives me hope that nature may perhaps prevail.

What is your favourite place to watch migrants?
We are lucky that immediately behind our house there is a hilly area where you can walk for hours rarely encountering anybody. It has a good variety of birds. Over the years I recorded more than 150 different species including a number of migrants.

Do you have any advice for beginning birdwatchers and naturalists?
Go out every day in the same area. This way you will learn where and when to expect the birds and how they behave. So even without fancy equipment you can have great sightings.

Why do you think people should care about birds and nature?
Only if there is harmony between fauna, which for me includes people, and flora, existence can be sustainable. Unfortunately, probably starting around the times of the industrial revolution, non- human life is losing out.

Any other information that you’d like to share with MigrantWatchers?
If we want to put strategies into place to preserve nature we need to understand it in as much as possible. To do so there is the need for data. By cross referencing various data, information can be created which allows us to design interventions which can help to preserve our wildlife, including birds. Therefore it is of utmost importance to not only keep records of sightings but also to share them as much as possible. Nature gives us sightings, we can give back by sharing our data so nature can be protected.

You can see Fionna’s MigrantWatch contributions here, and her photos here.

2 Comments to Participant Profile: Fionna Prins

  1. shashank pansari says:

    July 6th, 2012 at 5:19 am

    Hey fionna
    thank u very much for sharing about yourself. you are a good inspiration for those who wants to be a part of this campaign.

  2. Dr.Mayur says:

    August 30th, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    Hello Fiona,
    Nice blog and good job done.
    i am coming over to goa on 3 rd sept 2012 and i will be there for 3- 4 days. currently i am doing a short course on ornithology and i am excited to see a few birds at goa and meet enthusiastic birders like you. Kindly let me know if i could meet you on my trip to goa.
    Pls get back to me on

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