Ranjeet Chitrakar, May eBirder of the Month

By Team eBird 11 Jun 2024

Ranjeet Chitrakar, May eBirder of the Month

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Ranjeet Chitrakar of Maharashtra, India—winner of the May 2024 eBird Challenge, sponsored by ZEISS. Ranjeet’s name was drawn randomly from the 9,069 eBirders who submitted 5 or more eligible checklists on Global Big Day. Ranjeet will receive a new ZEISS SFL 8×40 binocular for his eBirding efforts. Thank you to everyone who participated in the May eBirder Challenge, we are grateful for your support and continued dedication to data collection and conservation. Here’s Ranjeet’s birding story:

What a great surprise for me. I truly feel greatly honored to have been selected as the e-birder of the month for May 2024. I am a Dental Surgeon by profession and a traveller with a keen interest in photography. While visiting different places, the ‘winged’ subjects slowly started attracting me to photograph them too.

Malabar Trogon, Harpactes fasciatus © Ranjeet Chitrakar / Macaulay Library

It was in December 2019 when I visited one of the forests in my region, a rare sighting of a pair of Indian Eagle Owls (Rock Eagle Owls) fascinated me. Later, the avian world attracted me and birding became a hobby and also a stress relieving activity in my daily routine. Birding introduced me to a complete new world which brings me closer to nature, where eBird, Merlin Bird ID, and Cornell Lab are my companions.

Painted Stork, Mycteria leucocephala © Ranjeet Chitrakar / Macaulay Library

I first started backyard birding. The curiosity to know more and more about the newer and newer birds made me visit grasslands, water bodies, and forests around me, to capture their images. Apart from bird photography, the information about birds which I started reading on eBird, made me interested in uploading my sightings and findings. As a participatory science contributor and participant in some of the bird surveys and bird counts in National Parks, I got used to the eBird app. Now a days, it’s my routine to add a checklist at my regular birding spots. E-bird allows me to keep a track of my bird sightings, times, the dates, my checklists, life lists, bird photos and the birding hotspots wherever I visit. Contributing to eBird and Merlin is like giving back a small amount of what I get from them.

Knob-billed Duck, Sarkidiornis melanotos © Ranjeet Chitrakar / Macaulay Library

I’m truly grateful to the Cornell Lab, eBird and ZEISS teams for this chance. Thank You So Much!