Updated: June 1, 2021 8:30:06 am
Armed with a bird encyclopedia, a superzoom point-to-shoot camera, a keen eye and sharp ears, 11-year-old Sanmit Dalvi can often be found watching birds. If he is not bird watching, he is probably reading more about the winged animals or sketching them. What began as a mere interest has now led to Sanmit ensuring a place in India Book of Records (IBR) by naming 505 subspecies of birds. The IBR confirmed the feat on May 12 as a record for ‘Maximum subspecies of birds recited by a child’.
“Since he was five, he had an exceptional passion towards wildlife. In fact, he wants to become a conservationist as he dislikes the idea of animals inside cages. Instead of zoos, he would ask us to take him for a safari where he could see wildlife in their habitat. He knows the names of various animals, such as snakes, dolphins, sharks and whales. During lockdown, since we could not step out, he watched birds. We ordered some books for him and his fascination for birds fuelled,” said Shradha Dalvi, Sanmit’s mother.
Shradha said for hours, Sanmit would sit with his iPad looking for new birds near his residence in Hadapsar, hearing and trying to mimic their calls and read about them. “Apart from common crows and sparrows, I have spotted Oriental white eye in my society campus. Red-crested bulbul is a bird that often frequents our house,” said the student of Class VI.
“We once asked him to jot down names of birds he knew and, to our surprise, he could pen down at least 450. We recognised that it is an extraordinary feat and, with the help of Euro School, Undri, where he studies, we applied for India Book of Records. They asked us to record a video of him reciting and, after meeting parameters, he was issued the certificate and medal,” said Shradha.
But for Sanmit, this is just the beginning of a dream he envisions for himself. He wishes to become an ornithologist and a conservationist, with hopes of working with the likes of David Attenborough, Jack Randall, Coyote Peterson and Frank Cuesta.
He also said while he wished to see the Great hornbill, his favourite bird was the Mandarin duck. “Once we travelled to Bhigwan to watch flamingos before lockdown. There are a lot of birds to see and I wish to go to South America to spot the Scarlet macaw and the Antarctic, to witness Emperor penguins. Apart from that, I would also love to see dolphins,” he said.
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