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
Local

Mayor announces public housing improvements

Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at the Lincoln Houses in East Harlem on Wednesday, calling for the scaffolding to come down at NYCHA complexes across…

National

Peter Theo Curtis: American released by Syrian militants…

An American writer freed this week from two years in the captivity of insurgents in Syria spoke briefly outside his family's Cambridge home Wednesday of…

Local

Bratton defends 'broken windows' work as NYPD support…

Sixty percent of those polled said they support the "broken windows" theory approach popularized by Commissioner Bratton since his first term in the 1990s.

Local

Transit changes for Labor Day weekend

The MTA is adding additional service Friday for New Yorkers getting out of the city for the long weekend. On Friday, Aug. 29, 27 additional…

Television

'Full House' might be relaunched with some of…

A new "Full House" might be in the works.

Movies

Review: 'The Congress' is a crazy, unwieldy sci-fi…

Robin Wright is the center of gravity in "The Congress," which turns from a live-action Hollywood satire into an animated spectacular on a downer future.

Movies

Review: 'The Last of Robin Hood' is a…

Dakota Fanning plays Errol Flynn's (Kevin Kline) teenage gal pal in "The Last of Robin Hood," which takes a scandal and makes it dully empathetic.

Movies

Review: The uneven 'Life of Crime' mostly gets…

Elmore Leonard's "The Switch" becomes the new indie crime dramedy "Life of Crime," with Jennifer Aniston as a kidnapped woman whose husband won't pay up.

Sports

Serena Williams leaving legacy of talented American women…

It seems only a matter of when, not if, Serena Williams will win her 18th career grand slam championship.

College

When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.

NFL

Dimitri Patterson suspended only for rest of preseason…

Dimitri Patterson ended up getting just a slap on the wrist.

Sports

Eugenie Bouchard excited for 'rowdy' fans at US…

Eugenie Bouchard is sure to endear herself to New York's tennis faithful as she tries to win her first grand slam title across the next two weeks.

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…

Sex

The 10 types of people you meet online

Does it ever seem like online dating profiles tend to get a little repetitive? It turns out you are not the only one to have…

Home

Labor Day essentials

Whether you’re soaking up the sun on the beach or barbecuing in the park here are some must-haves for your end-of-summer bash.

Education

Does the school day start too early?

As thousands of high schoolers get ready to head back to class, health experts say it may be time to push back the start of…