S02E05: A rendezvous with birds

In conversation with Deepa Mohan, birder and naturalist

listen to it here:


Arpita: You know Deepika, on 16 Feb 2020, that now almost fairytale period before the pandemic sort of officially came to India, I went for a birding walk being organised by Deepa Mohan to Madivala Lake. And you can hear Deepa chatting here with a bunch of kids while we’re on the walk…

Field clip:
Deepa: And it’s called the Tailorbird you know why? It stitches together leaves to make it’s nest.
Kids: Yes, it does.

Arpita: and seriously, I think back on this period and it feels surreal!

Deepika: Was it the lack of masks and all the hyper vigilance we’ve all normalised now?

Arpita: For sure – I just remember running out of the house and then leisurely looking about the lake, meeting and greeting a whole bunch of new people, pointing out birds, children asking all these questions – all of us elbow to elbow, sharing binoculars or guides –

Deepika: To think that it’s now 2022. it feels like it was from another carefree lifetime altogether.

Arpita: But you know it made me realise that that’s also how long we’ve been planning our chat with Deepa! I was absolutely adamant about talking to her but because of the lockdowns we finally managed to chat only last year.

Deepa: My name is Deepa Mohan. I have lived in Bangalore since 1988 with little breaks and continuously since 1997. Fallen in love with my state and my city as somehow I did not have that sense of belonging in Chennai where I lived or in Madurai.

Arpita: What she’s not telling you there is that Deepa is one of the most well known birder and naturalist guides in the city of Bangalore – she regularly organises and leads walks in and around the city and is probably teacher, mentor and inspiration to a whole bunch of young people who have deepened their interest in nature, birding and wildlife thanks to her walks.

Deepa: I suddenly got bitten by the wildlife and nature bug around 2005-06 and ever since my life has changed direction. I decided to take up wildlife and birding. So it’s been a learning journey in many directions because I’ve learnt how to handle atleast some parts of the computer. I had to learn for my blog, I had to learn some html, which was also tough. I had to learn photography, then I had to learn about wildlife.

Arpita: What makes it even more remarkable is that she was 52 when she first began this journey into the natural world.

Deepika: 52! My god that is truly inspiring because we’re often feeling even in our 30s that maybe it’s too late to start something new.

Arpita: Well not if you meet Deepa, because the zeal, energy and knowledge she brings makes you feel like she must’ve been doing this all her life. Even now, in her 60’s she’s constantly learning and challenging herself – she was sharing how she’s been participating in several wildlife and bird surveys in sanctuaries across the country, doing some rigorous sounding courses to continue enhancing her knowledge and experience and also planning to volunteer in wildlife sanctuaries in the north east. And I think that’s just like one year in Deepa’s life!

Deepika: I don’t think I’ve done close to as much in 4 years! So how did she get bitten by the wildlife bug?

Arpita: Well it all began with this trip to B.R.Hills wildlife sanctuary which is near B’lore. She went there with her family and ended up meeting Kalyan Verma, a well known film maker and conservationist and later with S Karthikeyan, who she calls her guru and who is currently the head naturalist at Jungle Lodges Resorts. So from courses to moving on to attending lots of walks – her learning curve seems to have taken on its own life from there.

Deepa: So I will always be grateful to Karthik. I keep telling him you opened my eyes and you opened my ears. And of course, he says I hope I’ve also shut your mouth. Cause in wildlife, you must keep your mouth shut, your eyes and your ears should be open. The less noise you make the more you can observe and listen.

Those days it was a very small, much smaller community of wildlife enthusiasts. It was a combination of both wildlife interest and the burgeoning of let’s say blogging. Everybody was on livejournal those days. So I made a lot of face-to-face friends who are also my friends on the Internet and both really helped me to get into wildlife circles and start going out for birding and nature trips.

Deepika: So how did she get into birding specifically? Cause isn’t that a big part of the nature walks she does now?

Arpita: Yes it started, she explained, with finding this group called Bngbirds.

Deepa: I think Bngbirds has been conducting walks now for about 47 years. It is covid which brought a stop to the walks.

Deepika: Wait what? Did she just say 47 years?

Arpita: I know it’s quite something isn’t it? But yeah, Bngbirds was started in 1972 by Dr. Joseph George and two fellow birders.

Deepa: In those days I don’t think even JP Nagar existed at that time. I think from Jayanagar onwards it was Bannerghatta forests. So they had a lot of access and my nature guru Karthik says that they would traipse all over the place and traffic was so low that they could go from one end of the city to the other without much difficulty. And they used to correspond by postcards setting up the next Sunday outing or next monthly outing whatever it was. So they have moved from postcards to phone calls to emails to egroups and then to WhatsApp and now the umbrella group is on Telegram.

Deepika: That really is some tremendous history!

Arpita: Yeah and its really a lovely inheritance for those who joined over the years like Deepa. She told me how she began by joining them on the walks they conducted in Lalbagh.

Deepa: The second Sunday work was in Lalbagh and I live in JP Nagar which is very close by so I started going there and I met a lot of people who were really knowledgeable. And in Lalbagh the first thing was of course the birds, the second thing was the plants and the trees in that garden. Amazing collection of trees from all over the world. So my interest actually started with trees, but then I realized that the things sitting on the trees were also very interesting. And then Kartikeyan being the expert on butterflies that he is also got me interested in butterflies.

What I would say is on these walks I would pick up little nuggets of information, process it into knowledge later on, put it in with other pieces of information so it’s like a phuldani of flowers, which each person has given me which I have put together and I’m grateful to everybody for giving me those flowers.

Arpita: So while birding was at the heart of organising the walks, learning about trees, butterflies, spiders, snakes etc was organically an extension of this learning space.

So well cutting now to the present, after being involved in these spaces for more than 15 years, Deepa has become one of the prominent members of the group who has been actually organising walks.

Deepa: It is Covid which brought a stop to the walks. We had added to the walks by introducing the third and fourth Sunday walks. We were conducting the third Sunday walk and then my friend Deepak J took over and then I was conducting the fourth Sunday walk, open walk for a fairly long time. I do not recall exactly how many years, but for a few years definitely.

Arpita: In fact while Bngbirds took a break during the pandemic, Deepa decided to conduct ‘Covid careful’ walks on her own. These were undertaken during the periods when lockdowns were eased and people could visit open green spaces in small numbers.

Deepika: Hey but before we get into the pandemic period, tell me what is a walk with Deepa like – how does one get to know about it and how does she organise it?

Arpita: So the Bngbirds group or the Covid careful outing group – both are accessible through various platforms. You can join them on an email group or through telegram. Deepa and other members of the group who organise and conduct walks, send updates on these groups and one can choose to join in accordingly. So from Deepa’s side the organising looks something like this.

Deepa: Essentially I get information about these lakes so lakes or forest areas where there are lot of bird sightings. My idea is generally, it’s not that I need to see the birds so much as I would like everybody else to see the birds, or the trees or the plants that I see. So if it is a place like these lakes, for example Kaikonderahalli lake which is on the Sarjapura road. It is a small lake which is fenced very safe, an ideal place to take small children. There is a beautiful little lake called Puttenahalli lake which Usha Rajagopalan and her teammates have been working very hard for over 10 years. It’s a tiny lake. I take my toddlers to that lake because it is such a beautiful place to take young children. Very safe and very nice, there is always a volunteer on duty to help with the children also. So there are places like this. Then there are the open forests. Let’s say the place I am taking a few children tomorrow, Ragihalli forest. There is Raugudlu, there is Jaipurdoddi – all these are still forest patches. I love Hoskote lake. I would call it Bangalore’s top birding hotspot because you can easily in the winter, you can easily get 90 plus species of birds there. And I have got this.

Arpita: Having done this for so many years, Deepa’s knowledge of natural spaces in and around the city is really quite extensive.

Deepika: And I think its also rather nice how she’s putting in the thought on the needs and safety of each of the groups. So what happens once a spot is chosen?

Arpita: Well from there on it’s getting the people together.

Deepa: Then I make a WhatsApp group of the people who are interested. Then we have a common meeting point and then I have something called the MCS or the Mandatory Chai Point so where people stop. We all introduce ourselves and it builds a community very well. I often find groups of friends, they make their own plans and they go together. And today in Covid you cannot have very large groups so having these small groups go together is very nice. So that’s the way it works and then when we come back on the whatsapp group we exchange photographs. We exchange information. Suppose I have seen a plant there and I cannot remember the name. I would come back, post the photograph and give them the name of the plant and all there is to it. So this kind of information we exchange and again very often those lead to a lot of acquaintanceships that become friendships afterwards.

Arpita: I had a chance to be a part of another walk organised by Deepa to Hoskote Lake last year and it panned out exactly like this. In fact what I really liked was how she sent us these ethical birder guidelines beforehand which included instructions on how to be a good birder.

Deepika: You mean things like wear clothes that blend in and don’t make noise?

Arpita: That and other simple things like keeping water, hats and snacks to make the whole event comfortable but also more broader guidelines that centered on the promotion of the welfare of birds and their environment even as one respects the rights of others and does minimal damage. And you know Deepa made this point in our conversation about photography in particular –

Deepa: It’s a double edged sword Arpita. What has happened is that what I call the democracy of photography. Now every single person with a mobile camera has a really good camera, with the mobile phone, has a very good camera in her hands. That has caused a huge interest in the surroundings, leave alone selfies, but the fact is that people have got interested in architecture of our city, people have got interested in various lets say things around them – textiles, what is our heritage and of course what are the forests around us? What are the trees around us. In every way photography has brought an awareness of what can be photographed. But in the process it’s also happened that the social media, the liking for being liked, its a very, what do you call it, it’s not the greatest thing in the world.

Because I often come across a lot of photographers who’ll say I’ve got a brilliant short of this bird, what is it. So the point is not the photograph, to me it’s not the photograph or the contents of the photograph but for many people getting likes on social media, getting to win a competition – these seem to become the focus of the photography. So that causes problems sometimes . Especially given our vast numbers. It’s not as if just a few people are going and photographing that bird at its nest. Suddenly, this happened in Valley school, there was a beautiful bird with a lovely nest and at one point of time there were about 35 photographers crowding around it. So Karnataka Forest Department closed down the area completely. Now we are all out of a fantastic birding hotspot because of that kind of unethical behavior. So photography is a very good tool but like all tools it’s like a kitchen knife you have to use it carefully.

Deepika: I can imagine that happening – I mean even in the sanctuary and national park visits I’ve made in the last couple of years one sees that happening – this preoccupation with photography overcoming the concern and care for the animal and the environment. It does sound really useful to have a ready set of guidelines so that people understand what they’re signing up for – especially if you’re a first timer birder.

Arpita: Yeah, you know Deepa also writes out very beautiful descriptive pieces of a field visit every once in a while – I remember from one this bit where she described the advantages of birding while its cloudy or raining. She said, “Why do you think its an advantage? Well it makes the bird photographer put down the camera, and take up the binoculars! When one is looking through a camera, one is thinking of the image as well as about the bird; when one is peering through binoculars, one is thinking only about the bird. This results, I think, in better observation.”

And really all of these photos and observations put together at the end in the process following the walk is really quite rich, where Deepa pulls together the full list of birds seen on a walk.

Deepa: There is this platform or application called ebird. It is a recent application but it has made remarkable strides in the collection of data and it has involved all of us amateur birders as data collection centers. So whenever we go birding we can list the birds we’ve seen and there is another app called iNaturalist in which its not only the birds but also you can enter the butterflies, small insects, trees anything and they will help you with the names and id’s of all of them and it’s a very good way for you to gain knowledge and for you to add to the databases also.

Arpita: So for example post our Hoskote walk, people shared their lists on the group which Deepa then puts up on ebird, you can even add in photos and number of birds of a species there and voila – at the end of the day you have this grand list and summary of all the birds that were spotted on a walk!

Deepika: That’s really lovely – so as an amateur you’re also getting a chance to really see the birds named and listed, have it as something you can return to and begin your own lists.

Arpita: Actually you can do a lot more but I’ll let Deepa explain!

Deepa: What I liked about Ebird was that it was – first that it was open source. It is not commercial and it is open to everybody and then other things after trying several other this one of keeping bird list, I found that this was one place where it was very user-friendly even for a person like me. I’m not tech savvy. So I found it very easy to use and the level of use which I wanted to put it to, lay entirely with me. I could use it to mine data or let’s say I’m going to Kanha next month, I can go and find out what are the birds I’m likely to see in Kanha. I can look at the list and find that out. So I can use it in the way I want. I can share my list with my friends in the US, with my friends in Europe.

Deepika: Wow, that sounds really very useful – as an individual who might be new to the hobby, it would greatly ease the whole process of figuring things out and of course continuing down that path of exploration.

Arpita: Yes, plus there is the added advantage that this information then becomes part of the base knowledge which is used by scientists, researchers etc to study the distribution and abundance in bird populations. Ebird is helmed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and in fact the information that’s come together because of this platform was the primary data used to put together India’s first State of India’s Birds 2020. So your day visit and lists also become part of a larger conservation and research story!

But you know, as much as its lovely to have the aid of the technology at one end, it does not equal the joy of being in the green space and learning from people like Deepa and other regular birders, cause they not only identify the bird for you but also tell you about its lifecycle, or some local story related to it – its just so fun! I absolutely enjoyed how all sorts of questions came up in the two walks I attended – from adults and especially from children!

Deepa: Believe me there are no bad questions and good question, there maybe bad answers. Every question is quite valid actually. In fact I find that people are often very inhibited about asking questions. And this is something that I would ask everybody if they can – yes people are basically shy you can’t do much about it, but you should not be intimidated about asking why this, what is that. You get very interesting answers.

Arpita: Deepa also shared this little nugget about how to be a truly wonderful naturalist guide that she had gleaned from her guru –

Deepa: My nature guru Karthik has told me if you do not know something say you do not know it but let that be the last time you I do not know it to that particular question. Today you have the Internet in your hands, go home find out about it. So I had gone to Bannerghatta with a group of school children and the young children they pointed out a caterpillar which had little white globules on its back, they asked me what it was and I didn’t know so i said I’ll find out. When I went home I found out that wasps lay these eggs on the caterpillar. The caterpillar is quite literally carrying its death on its back. Because when the larvae hatch they will feed on and stun the caterpillar, kill it and eat it. So the mother has provided for food for the babies which she will never see. So this is something that I learned because of the curiosity of these children. I might not even have noticed that caterpillar.

Yeah. Frankly I enjoy meeting people and it’s a very special place that children hold because they are the ones where you light the candle and the candle flame burns quite brightly after that.

Deepika: Actually that brings me to a question that’s been at the back of my mind as you’ve been telling me about Deepa and Bngbirds – I mean the older members of the group and Deepa have been doing this for so many years – like she said many parts of the city were still forest areas when the group initially began – so what kinds of change have they seen in the city?

Arpita: You’re right, they have seen the city change tremendously. As Deepa said, Bangalore seems to have become ‘bruhater and bruhater’ referring to the kannada word which means ‘bigger or greater’ and according to her from the perspective of a naturalist – its been a slide downhill.

Deepa: In my own time, leave alone people who have been here from the 60s. They obviously would have seen a very sharp deterioration over the decades. I in the last 14 years that I’ve been involved in these outings, I have certainly seen say the number of species of birds in Lalbagh has come down. Lalbagh itself is becoming more of a theme park and less of a botanical garden now. So I can definitely see the degradation. I can see that we’re getting less and less places to access and places that have become full of human habitation the birds have disappeared to a very large extent. Yes, certainly I can see that change. And my seniors as I would call them would certainly remark upon a much larger change for the worse.

Arpita: I asked Deepa if she could explain how she’s experienced this in Bangalore with an example.

Deepa: Let’s say in 2007, 2008, 2009 I used to go to this forest patch called Turahalli in the south of B’lore. We used to go to watch what are called raptors or birds of prey, which hunt other birds. Now these birds of prey require large swatches of forest or open grassland to be present. Today Turahalli has hardly any raptors. You get all those small tiny birds maybe, but even those. The people who now live in Turahalli, there are a multitude of apartments there, they are very happy because because they see some birds. Whereas we realize that what we are seeing are the remnants, the few species that are left after the others have been pushed away.

Deepika: That doesn’t surprise considering we’ve all experienced our cities grow more dense and concrete over the years but still coming from a group who has been so present and watchful – it feels saddening.

Arpita: And what Deepa is saying is confirmed by the State of India’s Birds Report too. It says that of the 867 bird species assessed by them, 52% show clear decline over the past decades. Sadly, a trend that seems to be happening worldwide.

Deepika: Yeah we’ve been discussing this in our other episodes as well – how we are experiencing a sixth mass species extinction event worldwide due to a complex mix of human actions.

Arpita: And added to the reduced green spaces and the quality of those spaces – Deepa was also worried about the fact that access to the remaining green spaces was also being cut off.

Deepa: Sometimes the reason given is construction, sometimes the reason given is that there have been untoward incidents of drunkenness or you know, what our Victorian prudery call indecent behavior. I really wonder where courting couples can go if there are no public spaces, but this is given as a reason and I personally feel that the duty of the forest guards is to make it safe for people instead of having a blanket ban on everything but unfortunately that is what has been happening. Turahalli there were a couple of forest fires in 2015 and 16. That was the reason for that being shut off, but now there is a proposal to develop it as a tree park. I am still very tickled by the idea of a tree park where you know, you’re so used to industrial parks and silicon parks that you have to mention that it is a tree park.

Deepika: I can’t help but be reminded of that song by Joni Mitchell, Big Yellow Taxi where she literally sings – ‘They took all the trees, and put em in a tree museum, And they charged the people a dollar and a half to see them.’

Arpita: Yeah well Joni sure knew what was coming – at a time when we need more people to engage with the environment, we find our green spaces cut off.

Deepika: You know I’m curious though, how does Deepa connect what she does with what’s happening in the world – why is it important to her that urban dwellers connect with nature?

Arpita: That’s a question I did ask her, why she thought it was important for people to reclaim their relationship with the natural world.

Deepa: So I think that in the past maybe hundred two hundred three hundred years, we come from a history of clearing the jungle to make our human habitation. So in those days any predator, a bear or a tiger, you know a snake would be something to be afraid of because it would attack you it could attack your children so it was something to be avoided at all costs. So jungles were cleared to make human habitation. That situation continued and it was also a great thing for people to hunt let’s say the Tigers or the Leopards, you know that the Cheetah was made extinct in India. I think the last Cheetah died in 1947. I have seen the places where they have a huge list of the number of tigers killed by so and so maharaja. So we call it now the Wall of Shame, but at that point of time it was the done thing to rid the jungles of what they considered dangers to humanity. So now we unfortunately continue with that feeling to the point where we have sterilized our habitation completely.

You’re considered a good homemaker if you do not have a single ant in your home. You do not have any beehive outside your house. Leave alone any other major things. We all do not want any animals around you, we do not want any insects around you – that is considered good housekeeping. So now you’re realizing that that is not a tenable thing, we are upsetting the balance of nature and so definitely it is important that we accept nature once again. We realize we are a part of nature and we should accept all that is in nature. Maybe not in our immediate surroundings but atleast keep our forest patches and our urban green patches and protect them.

Arpita: Deepa added how over the years shes seen a whole variety of people join her for the walks and how they pan out over time.

Deepa: Let’s say I take 20 people out on a walk. There may be a few people for whom that will be it, they may not be interested. But there will be some who realise that yes, we are a part of a larger scenario, let us look at this and if this is what has been sustaining us let us see what we can do. So it is a long journey from interest to conservation. But yes, unless you take that first step, you’re not going to climb the stairs.

Deepika: I like that – what you don’t engage with you cannot protect so, so yeah I can see how these walks would be a lovely first step to take to begin to again know and learn to love the world around us.

Arpita: Indeed, and you know during the long period of the pandemic and lockdowns, restrictions on social gatherings and movement – people became more interested in pursuits like birding. The Hoskote lake walk I went for had probably 40 or more individuals who had turned up at 6:30 in the morning. Our bodies seemed to somehow instinctively understand what researchers are confirming now – activities which involve being in nature like birding is good for people’s well-being!

Deepika: And I remember coming across one really specific bit of research which said bird song has been shown to contribute towards attention restoration and stress recovery.

Arpita: Exactly – its odd sometimes that we need science to tell us what is so instinctively evident. Still I don’t think that includes all of us cause you know as we were chatting, Deepa shared how she’s had these lovely moments when someone has walked up to her and declared how the walks with her inspired them to their own deeper engagement with the world around.

Deepa: I was walking down in the -Nagara area and suddenly somebody came and said hi to me and this was Sanjeev Kulkarni who runs Prani, which is an animal sanctuary. Then he said I have attended all the walks in Labagh and you are the person who has made me so interested in wildlife, this is why I am doing what I am doing today. So I don’t know whether he was praising me or blaming me but I personally felt very happy that I had to be able to set somebody on this path.

Arpita: Prani is a pet sanctuary of rescued animals which is on the outskirts of Bangalore and another truly sweet place for children and adults to go hang out with, feed and learn more about different animals. And I’m pretty sure, Sanjeev is just one of the many who’ve been inspired by these lovely walks.

Deepika: Yeah it’s like she received this beautiful legacy and knowledge and she’s passing it on now to the next generation –

Arpita: Yes, you know you meet Deepa and there is such an energy about her but her work as shes outlines, also has this coming to terms with so much loss and degradation of all that she loves, so I had to ask her what keeps her motivated, what gives her hope for our cities.

Deepa: I’m not sure that I’m always very hopeful there are times when I could tear my hair out like just now for example, what has happened is that grasslands of Hesseraghatta the Supreme Court has just said that it is going to be developed. You know, you have this development in inverted commas which is completely human centric, they might put up a film city over there. What is a prime habitat.

Arpita: Deepa is referring to the Hessarghatta grasslands, possibly that last patch of grasslands within the city of Bengaluru. It has come under the threat of being ‘developed’ as Deepa says – into a film city several times over the last few years.

Deepa: You know, very often what looks like a, to a real estate developer what looks like wasteland is not a wasteland at all. It is a thriving eco-system of living beings all of whom help to keep us living and surviving and thriving. So I feel that the sooner we realize it the better. So I don’t always find that our government or our leaders are very much for it. They don’t see the long-term, but I still feel that there are enough of us who are aware of it and who are fighting hard enough. Yes, the setbacks are many but in the last few years, I find that a lot of our youngsters are getting more and more involved with this space. So yes, that gives me a lot of optimism.

Arpita: And you know the reason spaces like Hessarghatta continue to survive is because people have fought for them and people have fought for them because they have through birding or other such hobbies – engaged with those spaces and realised how rich and valuable they are.

Deepika: So tell me, considering the kinds of stresses and changes Deepa has seen through the last decade and more, what does she make of our current cities?

Arpita: Well for one she expressed her concern over the reducing green cover.

Deepa: This kind of cutting down of trees for more traffic to flow through, it’s a double whammy: you’re cutting down a source of oxygen and you’re introducing something that is going to provide more and more carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide – so double poison. So I hope our government sees the futility of this, wider roads leads to more traffic. It doesn’t do anything else.

Arpita: And so of course I had to ask her then how she would do things differently – what if she had a chance to design the city, what would be her priority?

Deepa: I would go back to Mahatma Gandhi’s dream in a certain way. He said India lives in her villages, I would develop the villages so that our population could be evenly spread across and not have this agglomeration of urban points, you know where the resources are strained a lot and then concretization takes place so I would do that and in our cities I would essentially have trees, I would have parks everywhere. See after Lalbagh, after Cubbon Park, we don’t really have a major park in Bangalore for the last 130 years, we have nothing. So something where this is developed along with the human habitation is what I would think of.

I would call pedestrians very essential, pedestrians and cyclists and I do not know what is in the future, who knows maybe the next 30 years we’ll suddenly discover some method of transportation, which doesn’t depend fossilised fuels that might happen. Who knows, maybe I can transfer myself by thought to you. If that happens, that would be great!

Deepika: These seem like such easy asks considering the growing shadow of the climate crisis on our cities and yet somehow we seem to be headed the opposite way.

Arpita: It does seem like that, doesn’t it? I kept wondering how knowing all this, Deepa is so motivated to continue doing what she does but I realised through our conversation that at the heart of how shes able to do so much and be such an effective educator – is that her interest is centered around the love for the world.

Deepa: Basically, I enjoy it. It’s as simple as that. I love going – In fact people thank me for taking them out. It’s actually the other way around. I’m so grateful to them that they come and pick me and drop me back and they take me into the places where I love to go. And I get to meet so many interesting people. I see so many children who are interested. I think it’s basically that. I am not full of, all the time full of noble thoughts about conservation, basically I enjoy what I do.

Arpita: It feels fitting I think to end with this Aldo Leopold quote I was reminded of: “Like winds and sunsets, wild things were taken for granted until progress began to do away with them. Now we face the question whether a still higher ‘standard of living’ is worth its cost in things natural, wild and free. For us the minority, the opportunity to see geese is more important than television.” The question on what we choose for our cities and how we choose – remains open.

Outro: If this conversation on birding has resonated with you and you would like to join the walks that Deepa organises write to us and we’ll get you in touch! Also, do listen in to our extra with Deepa where we run through a quick FAQ with her on how to begin birding – the books, the equipment etc we cover it all.

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Credit: This podcast was created by Srinidhi Raghavan, Deepika Khatri and Arpita Joshi. The sound editing was by Vijay Chawla.