Posts tagged with “Aniket Bhatt”

Participant Profile: Aniket Bhatt

Tuesday, 2 March, 2010

Where do you live?
The city of Ahmedabad; in the bird-paradise called Gujarat

profile-photo-2When did you start watching birds?
There was a tree adjacent to the staircase at our home. During the summer vacation of 1980 (I was 10), I noticed that a natural hole in the branch of that tree, which was only 2 to 3 feet away from the stairs, had some bright coloured winged visitors regularly going into and coming out. Fascinated by the brilliant colours of the bird, I spent the entire vacation observing them. That made me want to know more about the bird. Our school had a rule that each student would get a book as a gift from the school on his/her birthday and I received book called “Pankhi Jagat” on my following birthday. I came to know through that book that the bird I was watching is called Coppersmith Barbet. There were many other beautiful birds in that book so I started observing my surroundings to see them. That is how I started watching birds.

Who would you consider your birding mentor?
I have been very lucky to have more than one person as my birding mentor. Earliest years in bird-watching were guided by Late Shree Pradhyumna Kanchanrai Desai who has also written many Gujarati books on nature. Our school’s principal Shree Deepakbhai Mehta’s encouragement intensified my thirst for knowing about our surrounding nature. At the age of 14 I joined Bhavngar Wildlife Conservation Society and had a chance to learn a lot from Shree Shivabhadra Sinhji. In the same organisation, I learnt a lot under the guidance of Shree N.C. Bhatt and Shree Mohitbhai Andharia. Attending Shree Lavkumar Khachar’s training while at the nature camps during school is also something I consider myself lucky for.

Please describe a memorable birding experience.
Late Shree Pradhyumnabhai Kanchanrai Desai, my guru in birding, had four African Grey Parrots at his home. He named them “Mithu”, “Charlie”, “Young” and another (I have forgotten the fourth name) He trained them so well that each one was able to mimic Pradhyumnabhai’s voice cleverly and precisely. So much so, that people who were less familiar with Pradhyumnabhai’s voice would not be able to make out if the voice was that of a parrot or a person unless they could see them. The difference was noticeable only after one got familiar with their voices (the parrots voice was nasal and little bit harsh). Each parrot had an individual personality too. One parrot mastered a few “Chopai” of Ramayan, second was good at Gujarati language, and while third was good at English. Fourth one used to ask “Shu karo chho?” in Gujarati (meaning “what are you doing?”).
The times when the parrots were left behind at home while Pradhyumnabhai went out for work were real fun. If a visitor arrived and rang the doorbell, one bird would ask in Gujarati “Kaun?” (meaning who?), while the other one that was more fluent in English would ask “Who?” This would make the visitor think that someone was asking questions before opening the door. The visitor would honestly answer each time and those naughty parrots would keep asking the same question again and again, while the visitor wondered what was going on!

What is/are your favourite migrants?
“Which one is not my favourite?” would be easy to answer; my answer to that would be “NONE”.

What is your favourite place to watch migrants?
Thol & Bhaal

Do you have any advice for beginning birdwatchers and naturalists?

Let’s not keep birding limited to “watching” only.

Why do you think people should care about birds and nature?

For selfish reasons. Sounds weird? Let me explain. If we want our coming generations to see real nature, instead of just images in various formats, we HAVE TO conserve nature. It is for the sake of our coming generations. If everyone firmly decides that “I want my child to be able to see nature intact – not in digitised form”; if everyone understands that the conservation of nature is for the sake of “one’s own” coming generations, then, I believe the result would be would be more effective. That’s why I call it “selfish”.

Visit Amasing Bhaal, a website Aniket has set up devoted to the Bhaal region. Aniket’s MigrantWatch sightings can be seen here.