Introducing Neigh-bird: An amateur birding project

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August 6, 2020

n March 2020, husband and wife team Sanshey Biswas and Manon Verchot had plans to travel the world, attend journalism conferences, eat their weight in gelato and walk till their feet felt like they were falling off. But the world had other plans. By the end of March, dozens of countries were under lockdown as the COVID-19 virus infected hundreds of thousands. So Sanshey and Manon hunkered down in their apartment in Gurugram, India to wait it out.

When they weren't working (Manon was editing and commissioning videos for Mongabay, and Sanshey was writing grant proposals for his company Qisa Lab), they started observing the birds in their neighborhood. Soon, the pair were making videos about what they were discovering. What started as a way to help Manon cope with her anxiety about the global health crisis, rapidly developed into an extended series of videos. And now, they want to share that with you.

Episode 1: Birding through COVID-19

When the COVID-19 outbreak started getting worse, Manon and Sanshey started to self-quarantine preemptively. In those early days, they were still allowed to go for daily walks. That's where they shot videos for Episode 1.

Episode 2: Birding from the balcony during COVID-19 lockdown

When India announced the biggest lockdown in the world (which affected 1.3 billion people), Sanshey and Manon were no longer able to go on their walks. So they started birdwatching from their balcony on the 12th floor.

Episode 3: Bringing the birds to us

Spotting birds from far away was difficult. So Manon and Sanshey devised a plan to try and lure birds up to them. Spoiler alert: they only got pigeons.

Episode 4: Do you still think pigeons are boring?

Though Manon and Sanshey weren't big fans of pigeons before, once they started their lockdown birding they started to develop more of an appreciation for the sky rats. Especially when they realised there were 3 pigeon/dove species in their back yard.

That's all for now, folks! Manon and Sanshey will keep updating this page for as long as this side project continues. If you want to share your lockdown birding story with them, go find them and say hi on Twitter or Instagram! They'll be easy to find.


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