As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

In love with birds


KATHMANDU: As a child he used to enjoy in the wilderness for hours. Though away from green woods and wildlife, he stills longs to be with nature. So, at the age of 45, Dr Hem Sagar Baral is seen in the courtyard of his house pottering with trees. This love for nature and its creatures was one factor that brought Dr Baral close to nature making him the first ornithologist of Nepal with a PhD. 

His contribution to discover four grassland bird species in Nepal along with conducting different activities for bird conservation independently and in association with various institutions has made him a valuable ornithologist of Nepal.

Childhood in wilderness

Born on October 12, 1967 in Prakashpur village of eastern Nepal, Dr Baral liked outdoor activities from a young age. Because his village was very close to Koshi Tappu wildlife reserve, “I often used to go there to enjoy the wilderness,” he says. But his family migrated to Dhangadhi, far-west of Nepal when he was 10 years old.

Dhangadhi was a “big change” for him in terms of language, culture and people there. But the wilderness was “still the same”.

Travelling was another thing that he enjoyed as a child. Even today he remembers walking the entire Churia hill with his father to buy a buffalo. “My father was like a vagabond who loved travelling and I too acquired that characteristic from him,” he expresses.

And as a student, “he had a strong desire to study biology”. So, despite lack of textbooks and trained teachers, he studied biology in school and even at college though Dr Baral “was never a good student”. However, encouraging words of two teachers — Tulsi Dhar Bhandari and Sushila Sitaula — turned him “into a good boy”. And he became the only student to pass SLC in his batch in 1983 (2040 BS).
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