June 3, 2002 

Inspiration for the day

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Saraswathi Unnithan, Senior Scientist (Ornithology)   Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), Sahid Bhagat Singh Marg, Mumbai- 400 023

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An ornithologist in the footsteps of Salim Ali: meet Saraswathi Unnithan, Senior Scientist (Ornithology)  (head of Bird Section), Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS).

She is well acquainted with the birds of the sub continent as well as the migrating birds that come from far.

The grove in her ancestral home had kindled her wonder at nature as a small child.  And that curiosity for flowers and butterflies she still keeps in her mind.

She has been associated with Humayun Abdul Ali, the famous ornithologist and a relative of Salim Ali.

“It is the migrating birds that attract me the most.  The birds from Siberia travel about 20000 km to come here.  And they go back when the climate is better there.”

She has done a lot of studies on migrating birds.  It is not often that one’s hobby and profession match.  Saraswathy Unnithan is one among such lucky few.  “One never feels bored in this job”, she says.

She has visited all bird sanctuaries of India.  “Thattekkat, near Kothamangalam, has the maximum number of bird species in India”, she says.  She is an  expert in Japanese Landscaping & Bonsai and has a collection of 500 bonsai plants, many of them almost a quarter-century old. She has been credited with designing the First Day Cover for the Indian Postal Dept in 2000, to commemorate the migratory birds.

“Those who are interested in Nature can take up ornithology as a profession.  The salary and other benefits are quite good”, she opines.

She graduated from S.N.College, Kollam and took Ph.D in genetics from Banaras Hindu University, where she topped in M.Sc. 


Courtesy: Prasanna, Vanitha March 1-14, 1997

Contributed by: Administrator and Commander GVK Unnithan, Indian Navy (Retd)


" It is the beautiful bird that is put in a cage."