Archives at NCBS | Public Lecture Series
63rd edition

Monthly talks framed around explorations in and around archives. Discussions by artists, archivists, academics, lawyers, teachers, journalists and others.


A Century of Watching Indian Birds

Aasheesh Pittie in conversation with Suhel Quader

Friday, May 24, 2024. 5:00pm.
Lecture Hall – 1 (Haapus), NCBS


What is the history of ornithology in India, and what role do birdwatchers play in it? Aasheesh Pittie will be in conversation with Suhel Quader, talking about 20th-century citizen-science engagement with birding and ornithology. They will reflect on key figures in the field such as Salim Ali, Jamal Ara, Zafar Futehally and others, and on archival material related to ornithology housed at the Archives at NCBS. They will also discuss what it means to be a birder, and traditions of observing, connecting, record-keeping, sharing knowledge, publishing, and mentoring young birders who take over the mantle from their forebears.



Aasheesh Pittie is the editor of the ornithological journal Indian BIRDS. He has been the engine behind books such as Birds in Books: Three Hundred Years of South Asian Ornithology and The Written Bird: Birds in Books 2. Aasheesh has also compiled a searchable bibliographic database of over 35,000 works on South Asian ornithology.


Suhel Quader is an ecologist with the Nature Conservation Foundation (, working towards greater public understanding and engagement with the natural world.


The Archives at NCBS has several collections on ornithology. View them here: 

Aasheesh Pittie papers:

Carl D’Silva Papers:

Prakash Gole Papers:

Ravi Sankaran Papers:

RJ Ranjit Daniels Papers:

Small Donations - Ecology and Conservation: