If there is any one person who could be called the pioneer of group birdwatching efforts in India, it is Dr. Joseph George. Being involved with group birdwatching activities in Dehradun even in the nineteen forties, he continued involving people and popularising the hobby wherever he went. Moving into Bangalore from Roorkee, Dr. George started an informal bird watching group here too in Bangalore in 1972.
For all of us birdwatchers who came in contact with him, he inspired us with his knowledge and humility, and had a way of making people learn about birds. He encouraged us to make our own observations, always emphasising that contributions to our knowledge of birds could be done by anyone and not just scientists. Though an organic chemist himself, he had many research papers on birds to his credit and encouraged us to publish as well.
Starting his career during the British times at the Forest Research Institute, Dehradun, he went on to become the Assistant Director of the Buildings Research Institute in Roorkee, and then the Director at the Indian Plywood Industries Research and Training Institute, Bangalore. He was an adhesive specialist par excellence, with a special interest in wood substitutes. And to this end he worked hard and achieved one technological innovation after another and derived more for nature conservation than what most of us only dream of. He had many patents to his credit and a few more coming. Even at ninety, he used to go every day to his laboratory, and also actively involve himself in gardening, which he was a great enthusiast of.
He has left a legacy for Bangalore that has at least a thousand times more birdwatchers than he started out with. And a publication ethic that amateurs could contribute to science too!