Nepal's cawing "bird brother" amazes crowds, raises awareness

KATHMANDU Mon Nov 4, 2013 1:24pm IST

People watch crows flock around as Gautam Sapkota, a self-proclaimed 'crow caller', produces bird sounds to attract them, in Kathmandu October 16, 2009. REUTERS/Shruti Shrestha/Files

People watch crows flock around as Gautam Sapkota, a self-proclaimed 'crow caller', produces bird sounds to attract them, in Kathmandu October 16, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Shruti Shrestha/Files

Related Topics

KATHMANDU (Reuters) - 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.

He 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."

(Editing by John O'Callaghan)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

CLEAN INDIA MISSION

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Amazon in India

Amazon in India

Amazon to sell packaged food and beverages in India - Economic Times.  Full Article 

Ebola Outbreak

Ebola Outbreak

EXCLUSIVE - U.S. nears solution for safe disposal of Ebola waste.  Full Article 

Back in Jail

Back in Jail

Sahara chief Subrata Roy moved back to jail cell, office privileges withdrawn.  Full Article 

Asian Games

Asian Games

Boxer Sarita Devi showed lack of sportsmanship, say organisers.  Full Article 

Movie Review

Movie Review

"Haider" tries to pack in too many elements, writes Shilpa Jamkhandikar.  Full Article 

Reuters Exclusive

Reuters Exclusive

India set to run out of critical free drug for HIV/AIDS programme.  Full Article 

HK Protests

HK Protests

Prolonged Hong Kong protest could harm financial image, says envoy.  Full Article 

Fighting Islamic State

Fighting Islamic State

Turkey vows to fight Islamic State, coalition strikes near border.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage