Students author book on birds in Dwarka

Campus initiative

Students author book  on birds in Dwarka

Three students of Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University have come up with a first-of-its-kind book on birdlife in Dwarka. Inspired by the rich diversity of bird species in their off-site campus, the students laboriously counted the number of birds in that area, noted their species with characteristics and have listed it in their book Wings of Dwarka.

The book was recently published under the aegis of the varsity’s nature club Srijan and released by former Delhi minister Manish Sisodia.

Student-author Ranjana Pal, who finished her masters in Biodiversity and Conservation from the varsity last month, informs us, “Our campus and the surrounding areas are a thriving habitat for birds. Our varsity is surrounded by agricultural fields, floriculture site, abundant natural vegetation and importantly, the Najafgarh drain. All of these ecosystems host different kinds of birds which are very interesting to observe.”

In 2011, Ranjana and her classmate Srishri Solanki decided to undertake a census of these birds “just for fun.” But it soon turned out to be a much larger project with exciting findings every day. “These are all resident birds of Delhi that we discovered but they are rare to site in the populated areas of the city today. In the agricultural fields we found grain-eating birds like finches and baya weavers. In the plantation areas we spotted wabblers and parakeets. The drain, though dirty, swarms with spot-billed ducks and purple swamphens,” says Srishti.

The girls, as they inform us, would arrive at the campus early in the morning and then leave much later in the evening after conducting a methodical study of the birds and taking their snapshots. It is to the credit of their teachers who, on learning about their pet project, encouraged them to turn it into a book afterwards.

Srishti says, “The whole biodiversity department and especially our ornithologist teacher Sumit Dookia actively helped us in compiling the research findings. We ended with over 80 species of birds, their numbers and characteristics. Additionally, Aman Malik, a student of chemical engineering, added to our list and provided even more attractive pics.”

Later, maps were added to pin-point to the reader exactly where each species can be spotted in Dwarka. The students say 80 is an underestimation and there are dozens of bird species yet to be spotted in the region. “We really hope our book helps the residents of Dwarka and Delhi in general open their eyes to the rich biodiversity this area has and experience the living, breathing and beautiful world around them,” concludes Aman.  

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