Salim Moizuddin Abdul Ali, Indian ornithologist was born on Nov12, 1896. Owing to his great work in ornithology he has earned the title ‘Birdman of India’. He was among the first Indians to make a systematic survey of birds across the country. He wrote many books on the subject and generated much interest in birds that popularised ornithology in India.
While A O Hume, one of the founders of the Indian National Congress has been called ‘The father of Indian Ornithology’ and the ‘Pope of Indian Ornithology’, Salim Ali is the modern day ‘Birdman’.
He was a key figure behind the Bombay Natural History Museum as also for the creation of the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary. He also worked to prevent the destruction of what is now the Silent Valley National Park.
He co-authored the ten volumes of ‘Handbook of the Birds of India and Pakistan’ with Sidney Dillon Ripley. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1958 and Padma Vibhushan in 1976.
In recognition of his great contribution, species of birds, a few bird sanctuaries and institutions have been named after him.
All over India, bird enthusiasts have gathered together and conducted bird walks and exhibitions on birds of India to commemorate Salim Ali’s birthday.