By Gopal Sharma
KATHMANDU — 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. - Reuters