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The return of birds during the COVID-19 lockdown is a boon to Nepali wildlife photographers

Categories: South Asia, Nepal, Environment, Good News, Photography, COVID-19

A pair of red vented bulbuls. Photo by Mira Dhakal. Used with permission.

Despite its relatively small size, Nepal boasts nearly 9% [1] of the total bird species found worldwide. According to Bird Conservation Nepal, 886 species [1] of birds have been recorded in the country.

While Nepal's bird numbers have been declining [2] due to habitat loss and the impact of climate change among other factors, COVID-19 restrictions have caused a reduction in pollution and created a favourable environment [3] for birds. According to studies, [3] the lockdown has coincided with the main mating season for many urban birds, and photographers, both amateur and professional, are sharing [4] a glimpse of what they are seeing from their backyards.

Mira Dhakal [6], an amateur photographer, has been sharing her photos with the hashtag #TheJoyOfSmallThings on Twitter. Inspired by her mother’s skill at creating photos in her family's photo studio, she started capturing birds through her camera five years ago.

In an email conversation with Global Voices author Sanjib Chaudhary, Dhakal said:

When I click birds, I feel as beautiful and as free as birds. […] When I started bird photography, I started seeing bird everywhere and listening to them every now and then. I can notice beautiful birds and their nests even from a moving vehicle. […] Birds are lively, they are intense and they create such a joy.

Here are some of the birds Dhakal has captured on camera:

Dhakal hadn’t been able to photograph a blue whistling thrush although she tried many times. However, this beauty appeared in Dhakal’s backyard during the lockdown. Photo by Mira Dhakal. Used with permission.

A cuckoo's calls announce the arrival of spring [2]. A pair of Asian koels. Photo by Mira Dhakal. Used with permission.

People allow swallows, martins, and swifts to nest in their homes [2] in Nepal. Swallows and sparrow perched together. Photo by Mira Dhakal. Used with permission.

Common green magpie. Photo by Mira Dhakal. Used with permission.

Common tailorbird. Photo by Mira Dhakal. Used with permission.

Great barbet. Photo by Mira Dhakal. Used with permission.

Oriental magpie robin. Photo by Mira Dhakal. Used with permission.

Oriental white eye. Photo by Mira Dhakal. Used with permission.

A pair of Himalayan bulbuls. Photo by Mira Dhakal. Used with permission.

White-throated kingfisher. Photo by Mira Dhakal. Used with permission.