Saturday, 21st of January 2017

Basic Course in Ornithology (BCO) 2016-17

"The 2017-18 batch of BCO will begin from April 2017"

For registrations contact CEC office in February or March 2017.

What is BCO - Online?

The Basic Course in Ornithology (BCO) is a revised online version of the previous correspondence course- Distance Learning in Basic Ornithology. It is a hybrid course with online (asynchronous) and face to face (synchronous) activities interwoven through the course work. The course content is developed by subject experts (SEs). The synchronous activities include online chat sessions with SMEs and field trips. The asynchronous activities include online learning through range of weekly assignments.

What are the benefits?

On successful completion students will receive a certificate in BCO with appropriate grades. Also as the name suggests, the course will develop basic skills required for Ornithologist among the students. The students will gain required knowledge through the chapters, online discussions and field activities. They will get opportunities to interact with SEs and learn about their works. As an outcome of the course, each student will carry out documentation of local bird fauna which may result into a compilation of scientific publication. Lastly as a group, the students will develop expertise in bird studies which will be useful in taking up bigger challenges for studying birds with respect to their life history, behavior, ecology and also contribute to the ongoing Ornithological researches carried across the country.

Who should enroll?

Anyone with an interest to learn about birds and its conservation are eligible to apply. There are three types of learners; Academic, Professional and Life-long, check out which category do you belong? The basic qualification is S.S.C. with or without science background. Other requirements include proficiency in computer operation and internet browsing, willing to dedicate minimum 2 hours every day for the course work. Take a test to know if you could be a Distant Learner:

What is the course syllabus?

The course includes 12 chapters on following topics. The chapters are illustrated and written in simple English.

An Introduction to Birds and to THE Birds of the Indian Subcontinent

1-Introduction to Birds

2-Evolution, Systematics and Classification

3-History of Indian Ornithology

4-Indian Birds

5-Anatomy and Physiology

6-Feathers, Flight and Bird Migration

7-Bird Sense and Behaviour

8-Food and Feeding

9-Mating Systems

10-Nests and Eggs

11-Bird Conservation

12-'Stray Feathers' 

What is the course schedule?

The course duration is six month. The monthly online assignments start on first working day of every month. The monthly field activities are usually held on Sundays if it is a day trip or weekends in case of overnight camps. The calendar of events will be made available upon registration.

What is the course delivery?

As a course management system- Lore features will be used which is like Facebook and also Google apps. Student should have access to computer, internet with audio-video facilities and also own a digital camera. In order to orient the students, an overnight course orientation camp will be held at the beginning of the course and a wrap-up camp at the end of the course. Attending the Inaugural Camp is compulsory.

What are the course deliverables?

The course has field as well as online assignments. The detailed break-up of the course deliverables on part of BNHS and on part of participants is given below.

  • Chapters and Presentations: Every month one chapter will be made available online for participants to read. The chapters, written by BNHS subject experts, will cover various aspects related to study or birds and their conservation. Ifrequired, participants can take print outs of the same. These chapters will help in increasing the knowledge of the subject as well as during field trips and in completing assignments. After sending the chapter for the month, a subject specific PowerPoint presentation will also be made availableonline. This will further help participants in analyzing the particular subject properly.
  • E-updates: In order to keep the group abreast of happenings in theornithology world, every month participants are expected to share updates in the form of news, excerpts from books or e-books, papers, documentary links, etc. E-updates are compulsory every month and should also feature in the monthly assignment submission report.
  • Online Research: In order to learn more about the research work in ornithology, as well as the social, cultural and literary dimensions associated with birds, participantsare expected to refer to scientific papers and articles available online and submit abstracts of the same with the monthly assignment submission report. There are 12 such activities of which six are compulsory.
  • Field Visits and Report: A total of eight one day field visits are organized to bird habitats near Mumbai, throughout the year. Students are required toattend any five among them. A brief report on each field visit should be sent along with the monthly assignment submission report. Participants staying outside Mumbai (other parts of Maharashtra) or in other states can instead visit a bird habitat near their city, on their own.

Field Camps: During the year a total of four field camps, one inaugural camp and one wrap-up camp are organized. Field camps are conducted in various important bird habitats across India. Inaugural camp is compulsory. In case, a participant is not able to register for or attend the inaugural camp due to some emergency/unavoidable circumstance, he/she will be required to attend the wrap-up camp as a mandatory requirement. From among the four field camps and the wrap-up camp, participants are required to attend at least two camps. A camp report must be submitted after each camp as a part of the monthly assignment submission.

  • Image Sharing: Participants are encouraged to carry out photo documentation of their field tripsand camps. These images can be shared on Picasa and Face Book (with bird names where identification is possible) and a link should be posted on Lore as well as some samples should be included in the monthly assignment submission.
  • Chat Sessions: Out of the six chat sessions that will be conducted throughout the year, participating in any three is mandatory. The online chats will be planned as per the availability of experts and the topic will be announced about a week in advance. Participants are expected to send in their questions before the day of the chat for better coordination of the session. These chat sessions will help in getting better insights into the world of birds and their study and will help in the monthly assignments.
  • Celebration of Eco Days: Conservation and awareness can take place effectively if maximum stakeholders are involved in the process. Participants are required to understand the relevance of various eco days observed globally as well as the Indian practices and festivals that actually promote conservation. Post that they are required to carry out awareness activities in their locality as well as online, highlighting the significance of that particular day/practice in bird conservation. Participants can choose any six of the nine eco days selected in the yearly calendar, for celebration and awareness activities.
  • Project Work: This is an integral part of the course and involves submitting a project report every month as a part of the monthly assignment submission. This monthly report should be based on the theme outlined for that particular month and the relevant observations/study in one’s chosen locality. The final project report and the presentation at the end of the year will be an amalgamation of the monthly reports as well as a holistic and practical action plan for their respective localities. Any relevant article contributed to a newspaper, magazine or website during the year would be an added advantage.

What is the grading structure?

A) Evaluation: The evaluation for grading will be based on the following criteria: Initiative (20%), Involvement/Content (50%), Deadlines (15%) and Format (15%), within each category. Points for the assignments would be given in the following manner across categories.

1.    Field Visits, Camps and Reports: 50% (50 points)

Field Visits:40% within this category for participation in any five out of the eight scheduled visits (20 points: Three points for each trip, one point for each report)

Field Camps: 60% within this category for participation in three camps from among the six scheduled camps (four field camps, one inaugural camp, and one wrap-up camp). (30 points: Seven points for each camp, three points for each report)

1.    Project Work: 20% (20 points)

  • Monthly Project Report (as a part of monthly assignment submission report): 1.5 points for every report
  • Final Project Report:  Two points
  • Final Project Presentation:  1.5 points

2.    Online Research: 6% for participation in any six out of the 12 activities (Six points: Onepoint for each)

3.    Celebration of Eco days: 12% for participation in any six out of the nine eco days (12points: Two points for each day)

4.    E-updates and Image Sharing: 6% for the 12 e-updates, all of which are mandatory (Sixpoints: Half point for each update) Image sharing is not graded, but recommended for sharing visual details of one’s chosen area and activities therein.

5.    Chat Sessions :  6% for participating in any three of the total six chat sessions (Six points: Two points for each session)

Based on the aggregate points, students may receive grades ranging from “A” to “D”. There is no final exam at the end of the course. Students who are unable to fulfill the course requirements will not receive their certificates.

Ø  What is the course fee structure?

The tuition fee is Rs. 9,990/-.

Ø  Who is managing this course?

The course is managed by BNHS CEC Team, Mr. Atul Sathe, Course Coordinator, Ms. Amandeep Kaur Giran and Ms. Vidya Todankar, Course Executives. The course will be run with help of the SEs within and outside BNHS.

Course Faculty/Experts

• Dr S Balachandran

•Dr Vibhu Prakash

•Dr Ranjit Manakadan

•Dr Raju Kasambe

•Dr Parvish Pandya

•Dr Pramod Patil

• Mr Saurabh Sawant

• Mr Adesh Shivkar

How to Register?

The course enrollment form could be downloaded from the BNHS website or could be requested from This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Send your completed electronic forms to Ms Amandeep Kaur Giran on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  and send your payments either electronically or by post / courier.

For further details, call on 022-28429477 or 9594929107

*By Post / Courier: Mark your envelope with “Basic Course in Ornithology” and send your payment cheque favoring “ Bombay Natural History Society” to following address: “Bombay Natural History Society, Hornbill House, Opp. Lion Gate, Shaheed Bhagat Singh Road, Mumbai 400 001, Maharashtra, India.

*Through Online Banking: Transfer Rs. 9,990/- electronically to Click here in BNHS account, and inform us immediately by e-mail.

*Note: BNHS Members will receive 10% discount on the course fees.