11-year-old budding ornithologist from Pune sets record for reciting maximum number of bird subspecies
With a bird encyclopedia, a superzoom point-to-shoot camera, keen eyes and pointed ears, 11-year-old Sanmit Dalvi can often bird watch. If he doesn’t observe birds, he probably reads more about birds or draws them in his sketchbook. What started out as mere interest has now led Sanmit to secure a place in the Indian Book of Records by reciting the names of 505 subspecies of birds. The IBR confirmed the feat on May 12 as the record for “maximum bird subspecies recited by a child.”
“Since the age of five, he has displayed an exceptional passion for wildlife. In fact, he wants to become an conservationist because he doesn’t like the idea of animals kept in cages. Instead of zoos, he would ask us to take him on a safari where he could see the wildlife in their habitat. He knows the names of various animals such as snakes, dolphins, sharks and whales. During the lockdown, as we couldn’t get out, he watched the birds. We ordered books for him and his fascination with birds was fueled, ”said Sanmit’s mother, Shradha Dalvi.
For hours, Sanmit sat with his iPad searching for new birds near his residence in Hadapsar, hearing and trying to imitate their calls and read about them. “Aside from the crows and common sparrows, I spotted the Oriental White Eye on my social campus. Meanwhile, the red-crested bulbul is a bird that often comes to our house, ”said the sixth grader.
“We once asked him to write down the names of the birds he knew and to our surprise he was able to write at least 450 of them. We recognized that it was an extraordinary feat and with the help of the Euro School Undri, where he studies, asked us for India’s record book. They had asked us to record the video of him reciting the names of the bird subspecies and after respecting the parameters he received the certificate and the medal, ”said the proud mother.
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But for Sanmit, this is just the beginning of the dreams he envisions for himself. He wishes to become an ornithologist and conversationalist with the hope of working with notable names such as David Attenborough, Jack Randall, Coyote Peterson, and Frank Cuesta.
He also shared that if he wants to see the great hornbill, his favorite bird is the mandarin duck. “We once went to Bhigwan to watch flamingos, before the lockdown. There are a lot of birds to see and I want to travel to South America to spot the scarlet macaw and Antarctica to witness the emperor penguins. Apart from that, I would also love to see dolphins, ”he said.