Bird Feeding in Nepal
During the 5 months pandemic lock-down in Nepal, I developed a habit of bird feeding. I mean, what else can you do when confining to a tiny apartment without any socialization? Bird feeding seems to be a good solution for getting some sort of interaction with any kinds of beings. It is easy, inexpensive and yields to good company. Very soon, my balcony has regular visitors.
I don’t know whether birds would get so comfortable with human beings in other places so soon. In the early morning, if the food is not there, they even complain—yes, you can tell from the way they chirp; they can sing melodiously, and they can also nag in a scolding way. They come and go all day round. They often simply hang out here even when they have had enough food.
Nepal is a very animal friendly place so definitely animals feel secured and relaxed here. If you have ever seen those well-fed dogs around the Boudha stupa, you’d understand what I mean. They completely let down their guard, sleeping nice and sound under the sun. Even when people doing circumambulation brush through them, they remain in deep sleep without moving or being disturbed at all. It is a stark contrast to street dogs in other countries where stray dogs are usually very nervous and defensive, always acting as if someone else is going to attack them. Even during the strictest lock-down, there are always people feeding street dogs and cats here and there as if they are part of the family.
In Nepal, there is even a dog festival when people adorn dogs with flowers and vermillion tika (mark on forehead), and offer food to dogs as part of the “Kukur Tihar” ceremony. It is a true reminder to us that all animals are equal sentient beings on this earth. It is also one of those things keeping Nepal as such a special place where you experience kindness in a raw and direct way beyond the human realm.