Growing up as a child, I loved animals and birds. One of my first experiences watching animals was when my dad would take me around our neighbourhood on the scooter showing me cows and buffaloes. At home, the pets I grew up with included fishes, ducks, chickens, rabbits, dogs, mynas, pigeons, parakeets and munias. I loved taking care of them, feeding them and simply watching them for hours together. Such was my obsession with animals and birds as a child. Now I am almost two decades older. I no longer derive joy from watching cows and buffaloes. However, I have taken a special liking to birdwatching.
My first experience watching birds through a pair of binoculars was during my Master’s fieldwork in 2012. Since then, my interest in birdwatching has grown, thanks to several like-minded friends and colleagues with whom I have learnt so much about birds. While I have had the opportunity to watch birds in various places in and around Delhi, I had never once made an attempt to watch birds in the neighbourhood where I now live. The lockdown presented the perfect opportunity for me to observe birds from the balcony of my 2nd-floor apartment in Dwarka.
Early mornings and evenings are a convenient time for me to spend time birdwatching. However, there are also times when I hear the call of a particular bird and rush to my balcony with a camera in hand. I was fortunate to get hold of my office camera just before the lockdown, and I don’t think I would’ve written this article had it not been for the camera. The camera I’ve been using is the Nikon Coolpix P900 – a 16 Megapixel camera with a massive 83x zoom – which is perfect for birding.
In the past month, I saw how Delhi’s season gradually transitioned from spring to summer, along with which I also noticed changes in the trees around me. At the beginning of April, there were fewer leaves on several trees, but as the month progressed, the vegetation kept getting denser with the appearing of new leaves. As a result, I was seeing more birds in the first week of the month as compared to the last week.
Below are images of some of the birds I clicked during the lockdown in April 2020.