Tirupati journalism professor takes to birdwatching to fight depression
After her household chores, she goes out looking for birds in forests, Kalyani Dam, Science Centre, Zoo Park and water bodies in rural areas.
Published: 05th June 2022 07:07 AM | Last Updated: 05th June 2022 07:07 AM | A+A A-
TIRUPATI: BN Neelima of Tirupati has been documenting details of birds, such as their behaviour, feeding habits, breeding cycles and habitat for the past two years. Neelima, a journalism professor at Sri Padmavathi Visvavidyalayam, starts her day around 3:30 am.
After her household chores, she goes out looking for birds in forests, Kalyani Dam, Science Centre, Zoo Park and water bodies in rural areas. The 48-year-old professor's eventful journey into the world of birds began when she was suffering from depression.
Birdwatching and taking pictures of the winged beauties gave her solace. "I lost my father to COVID-19. I went into depression and started spending most of the time on the university campus. One day, I felt that a bird was following me. The next day it nested on the campus. I started clicking pictures of birds on my mobile phone since then. It has now become a habit. I uploaded the pictures of birds on my university's WhatsApp group. After seeing them, the Vice Chancellor asked me to upload the pictures on the university blog too," says Neelima.
Since then, she started a systematic study of birds in the surrounding forest areas. Now, she spends at least 3-4 hours a day watching and taking pictures of birds. Recently, she got third prize for the picture of Changeable hawk-eagle (Nisaetus cirrhatus), from the prestigious Bombay Natural History Society.
In fact, she has inspired some of her colleagues and students to turn into bird watching. Neelima has documented 118 species of birds so far and developed a habit of reading books on birds. She has captured pictures of 215 bird species at various places close to Tirupati and bird sanctuaries in Nelapattu and Pulicat in Nellore district.
"I am very adventurous as a woman bird watcher. I have been searching for rare birds that come from the jungle. I got to know the birds there, studied their behaviour and, whenever possible, their nesting habits. The long waits for birds made me more patient. Bird watching makes me happy and keeps me closer to nature. Everyone should be aware of the need for conservation of wildlife. Depression may be overcome with bird watching," the professor said, citing her example.
Neelima, who was born and brought up in a middle class family, joined as a lecturer in the department of journalism in 1999 and got a promotion in 2014. She has also worked as the head of the department and is currently one of the members in the Board of Studies in the Sri Padmavati Visvavidyalayam. She has also been providing training in photography to students in the varsity.