Delip K. Das (Bisharga)

PhD student

I am a PhD student of Prof. Theunis Piersma based at the University of Groningen, The Netherlands. I am investigating wintering Black-tailed Godwits and their migration to and from Bangladesh. I will look at why some Black-tailed Godwits winter in the coastal ecosystem while others winter in the inland freshwater wetlands of the Central Asian and East Asian-Australasian Flyway. Bangabandhu Science and Technology Fellowship Trust supports my study.

I was very keen to meet prof. Theunis Piersma since I came across Bijleveld et al. (2014) on benefits of foraging in small flock. Supplementary video clips of conducting experiments for that paper made me interested. I started digging, and it led me to the team Piersma. My research interest matched, and I started searching for opportunities to join the group. The journey was not easy being a citizen of a developing country where professional ornithology is almost non-existent. In 2018, I met Theunis at the Wader Study Group conference in the Netherlands, and after a prolonged persuasion, I started in April 2021.

The avian world captivated me during my Bachelor study in the Department of Zoology, Jaghangirnagar University, Bangladesh. I became fascinated with the long-distance migration of shorebirds. In 2010, I volunteered for an expedition to search rare Spoon-billed Sandpiper on the southeast coast of Bangladesh. During that expedition, I waded through knee-deep mudflats, tussled with rough sea waves, camped into a remote island for the first time in my life, and got to know shorebirds intimately. The adventure of the expedition has inspired me to study deeply about shorebirds.

When I started my academic career in 2013 as a Lecturer of Zoology at Jagannath University, Bangladesh, I used my enthusiasm. I directed my energy and available resources to waterbird research. I tried to build my research team. My research focus was the winter ecology and habitat use of waterbirds in the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna delta (central coast) of Bangladesh. I travelled around Eighty Miles Beach in northwest Australia, the salinas of Spain, meadows of The Netherlands and mudflats of France and England to learn methods of studying shorebirds. I also checked the urban landscape and urban wildlife of Dhaka City, seeking a solution to minimize negative impacts of urban growth on biodiversity, integrate urban landscapes in wildlife conservation plans, and sustain a healthy urban ecosystem.