Birdwatching During Lockdown

Relax With Birdwatching

The world is going through a global crisis, in which we’re all in the same boat but at a distance. The excursions are now limited to your neighborhood grocery store and the yoga mats have to be considered the gym at home. The most interaction we have with nature has for now been limited to the terraces and the balconies, of trees overlooking our houses, and the tiny friends that visit our flower pots. Birdwatching makes all the difference.

Due to the prolonged periods of standing in my balcony, looking for signs of activity, I realized that my colony has a lot more birds than I could notice otherwise. While the squeaking of babblers and cooing of pigeons has always been hard to miss in Delhi’s neighborhoods, the more shy and reticent birds are also making themselves more noticeable now, since the honking and emissions of vehicles have gone for a short period of rest. Birdwatching has become my favourite activity.

The Birds I See

While birdwatching, I see bulbuls – red vented and red whiskered. A pair of oriental magpie robin, who make their appearance only during the early hours of the morning, flocking from wire to wire. The wise looking brown headed Barbet, whose persistent calls during the hot summer days provides a background music for everything you’re doing, all day long. The reserved, yellow footed green pigeon who peeks at me through the foliage, and it’s not-so-shy rock pigeon cousin, who loves to pose for pictures. The laughing dove, who my former unaware self mistook for a rock pigeon. The Black Kite, who stalks all those who stalk him, albeit with a much sharper vision. The small glossy Sunbird, that decides to make guest appearances, and rapidly moves on to the next tree. The tiny Indian White Eye, who has a knack for doing twig acrobatics. The Indian Mynas, who always seem to have some sort of theatre practice going on. The crows, who probably look at me observing all these new birds that were here all along, and think “Well, happy realization!”

An important point to take notice of, that most of these birds I noticed in the tree right opposite my house. One tree. Many people in the cities do not give a second thought before pruning and uprooting trees for reasons such as “A better view from the balcony”, “More sunlight” and “Insects that come with having too much foliage”. When a tree is cut, it results in loss of habitat of so many similar birds, who people feel no compassion for, simply because they haven’t been aware of their presence. There is no connection, no feeling of “knowing” who their feathered neighbor is. (7)

Birdwatching tips

One of the major realizations I had recently is that besides going to parks, sanctuaries, and reserves to connect with nature, it is very much possible to do it from your balconies and windows. 

These tips can help you for birdwatching –

  1. Be patient. This activity requires you to have some time on your hands, and a resolve to just chill in your balcony, patiently spotting birds.
  2. Early mornings and evenings are the best times to observe birds.
  3. Look at the borders of the trees, the twigs just at the periphery. Often the birds are resting there for a bit, so the chances to spot them there are pretty high.
  4. Look for flickers in the leaves, a bird hopping branch to branch is often the reason for this activity.
  5. If you have a bird bath in your park, observe around it. (If not, place one! Summers are hard for our little friends and nothing is better than some pool time to cool off).
  6. Do not forget the cables and wires! It’s almost as if the birds know that you’re looking for them on the branches, so they go and hop onto the wires.
  7. A camera with a good zoom helps you see the details of the birds. It’s by no means a necessity.
  8. Familiarise yourself with bird sounds and calls with YouTube. Knowing what you’re hearing helps in understanding what you might spot.
  9. Look towards the sky in the evenings and mornings. If the sun rays are falling just right, you’ll be able to catch the rose-gold hues of the rosy starlings.
  10. Don’t get too stressed.  This activity is supposed to make you feel connected and observant, not jittery. Take your time and have fun with it.

We Are Nature

If you begin to enjoy doing this every morning and evening, you’ll have a daily activity to relax and unwind, when for a few minutes, you’re only thinking of nature. These are harsh times, where we must realise that we are a part of nature and we must learn to share.

About the author

Shivani is a 4th year college student who enjoys spending her time in nature
and likes to engage in conversations regarding the environment.

1 thought on “Birdwatching During Lockdown”

  1. Tripti upadhyaya


    I lived reading the article.especially on bird watching. during these times of quietude, with no intrusive human movement and to top it, breeding time of all types of birds and related bird activities, makes it a bird watchers delight. I am in sector 93 and have been clicking pictures of avian beauties in several poses, in action and just making an appearance to be clicked.

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