Nepal’s cawing ‘bird brother’ amazes crowds, raises awareness

Nepalese bird enthusiast Gautam Sapkota mimics the sound of the birds flying above him in Kathmandu on December 18, 2008. Credit: STR/AFP/Getty Images
Nepalese bird enthusiast Gautam Sapkota mimics the sound of the birds flying above him in Kathmandu on December 18, 2008. Credit: STR/AFP/Getty Images

A young man with a microphone stepped onto a small stage and cawed like a crow. Minutes later, hundreds of noisy birds circled above him, perched on trees and sat on roof tops, astounding the crowd at a show called the “crow conference.”

Gautam Sapkota, fondly known in Nepal as “charidada” or “bird brother,” then made another series of sounds. The crows fell silent before disappearing into the grey sky before dusk.

“I told them to come, sit, be quiet and fly away,” said Sapkota, a 30-year-old school dropout who has been doing “crow shows” at schools since 2005 to entertain students and raise awareness about nature and the conservation of birds.

The bird whisperer says he can imitate the sounds of 251 kinds of birds and hopes for recognition of his talents from Guinness World Records. He plans to broaden his conservation message with an album that remixes Nepali songs with the sound of a crane.

“I want to preserve the sounds of birds which may eventually become extinct, by keeping them in recordings,” he said.

Conservationists say 149 of Nepal’s 871 bird species face the threat of extinction. Although not considered to be threatened, crows are disappearing fast.

Sapkota has given more than 3,200 shows in 66 of Nepal’s 75 districts and received an award from the conservation group WWF-Nepal for his efforts.

The latest show in the capital Kathmandu coincided with the Hindu festival of crows, which are revered as messengers from heaven and envoys of Baliraja, the king of death.

“As a messenger it gives the sign of anything good that is likely to happen, or anything bad that may strike a family,” Sapkota said of the crow.

But beyond their religious significance, crows are scavengers that help to keep the environment clean.

“These important birds are dying fast because of the use of poison to kill insects and rodents on which they feed,” said Sushila Chatterjee Nepali, chief of the group Bird Conservation Nepal.

Sapkota, who was inspired to mimic birds by a television show, appeared to have left a mark on the crowd.

“I now know why we need to preserve nature and birds,” Ashish Uprety, a sociology student, said after watching the show. “I had never seen so many crows before.”

 


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Breaking: Local

Judge rules Tsarnaev can view victim autopsy photos

Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev can view the autopsy photographs of the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.

International

Nearly 300 missing after South Korean ferry capsizes

Almost 300 people were missing after a ferry capsized off South Korea Wednesday, in what could be the country's biggest maritime disaster in over 20 years.

Local

Tsarnaev defense lawyers in court Wednesday, seek family…

Lawyers for accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev are due in court Wednesday to ask a judge to order prosecutors to hand over more information on the defendant's family.

News

Explosions in new Boston Marathon bomb panic, 'twisted'…

A fresh Boston Marathon terror alert, which caused Bomb Squad officers to order an evacuation while two controlled explosions were carried out, was today being…

Television

TV watch list, Wednesday, April 16: 'The Americans,'…

'The Americans' Philip and Elizabeth face "painful turns" in their missions. Maybe next week they'll have a nice easy mission with no moral ambiguity? Probably…

Going Out

Pastoral provides a country feel in the big…

One thing any packrat crafter will note on walking into Pastoral is how much fun chef/owner Todd Winer undoubtedly had in designing this, his first…

Movies

Review: 'Bears' is a cute Disney doc about…

Disney's latest nature doc, "Bears," doesn't completely shy away from the fact that its subjects would devour you (or eachother) if they had the chance.

Television

'Orphan Black's' Jordan Gavaris talks Felix's Season 2…

Jordan Gavaris plays heroically helpful foster sibling Felix to main clone Sarah on "Orphan Black." We talked to him about what’s ahead for him in…

MLB

MLB video highlights: White Sox beat Red Sox…

Red Sox fall on walk-off error to White Sox

NBA

NBA Draft Lottery day is May 20: Celtics…

NBA Draft Lottery day is Tuesday, May 20: Celtics percentage odds for a top overall pick

MLB

Opinion: Major League Baseball replay system shouldn't be…

Opinion: Major League Baseball replay system shouldn't be dumped just yet

NHL

Bruins - Red Wings preview: David Krejci ready…

Bruins - Red Wings preview: David Krejci ready to erupt once again in playoffs

Wellbeing

Could a facelift give you the edge at…

It's not just women lining up for procedures.

Home

Steal home decorating tips from Nattystyle blogger Natalie…

Despite the towering ceilings and enviable exposed brick, it’s easy to see how Natalie Decleve’s apartment could be considered a challenge. Perched above the streets…

Home

How to plant a garden in the city

Small on space but big on gardening? You can still have that welcoming oasis of fresh air with an urban garden. Peter Smith, owner of…

Style

Victoria's Secret Fashion Show moving to England

It will still broadcast on CBS this fall.