Nepal presents a balanced prospect of cultural and adventure tours, a rare occasion to witness nature’s incredulities all mingled with smart, warm hospitality, probably inspired by the country’s alluring mystifying presence as a tourism destination. As we move along Kathmandu’s hills, as we get away from the central city, we awake to the chorus of birds, melodies of nature’s greatest musical compositions. High above on the hills around the Kathmandu valley one can distinctly hear enchanting sounds of birds at a distance.
Spanning the dense forests all around, one can feel the natural enigma of the mysterious world of birds and their songs in solitude. These forests are bursting with biology and are rich of flora and fauna happily shoehorned into a refreshingly calm green sanctuary of pristine wonder. Few places enjoy such a sterling reputation, tempting and teasing the curiosity within us to walk a few paces more and see nature’s wings, the birds of the Himalayas and their ruler, the spiny babbler itself.
The Spiny Babbler (Turdoides nipalensis) is a magnificent brown bird found only in Nepal. It can be sighted around the Kathmandu valley, specifically around the Godavari and Phulchoki area close to the city of Lalitpur. The Spiny Babbler is a medium sized bird with a sharp beak and is quite shy. It rarely comes before humans but can be distinctly sighted around Phulchoki. Also known locally as the “Kande Bhyakura”, literally translated “thorny bird”, it features in stories, poems and folklore of Nepal. Although the spiny babbler population does not fear extinction, it must still be appreciated and protected.
For over a century, this bird was considered extinct. It was only when Sidney Dillon Ripley, an American ornithologist spotted it in Nepal that the world came to know about its existence. The bird has a range restriction and its population keeps fluctuating.