Backyard Wildlife- By Aristo Mendis

Generally when we speak of wildlife, the first image that pops up into our minds is that of a scenic evergreen forest with tall trees and thick foliage, alive with a variety of creatures. While this interpretation is not entirely wrong, the danger is that by imagining that all ‘wildlife’ exists only in some distant forests, we may unconsciously ignore the ‘flora and fauna’ that actually surrounds us – that is found in the vicinity of our homes, workplaces and other public spaces.

In a city like Mumbai, we unfortunately have close to no interaction with nature; because we are too busy fending for ourselves in a never-ending rat race. Actually, given our stressful lifestyles, nature can prove to be a good stress-buster – all we need is just a basic level of interest in these other forms of ‘life’. 

And we don’t need to look too far; our own surroundings have a relatively good variety of trees and animals that just go unnoticed. Common examples can be that of birds, butterflies, frogs and trees that exist in our residential colonies, public gardens, along roads and other nearby areas.

Praying Mantis- Seen near Don Bosco, Naigaon. 

So how do we go about getting in touch with our ‘backyard wildlife’? For starters, we could become a little more observant, just looking at the trees, birds, butterflies, insects, etc. that we constantly see around us. We could then go a step further by setting aside a few hours, possibly on weekends or holidays, to engage in casual bird watching, or attempting to identify the common trees/insects/animals in our localities. And for those of us who want to get a bit more professional, we could begin maintaining our ‘nature journals’ – jotting down our observations and findings.

Well, my suggestion is that you give it a try. Over the next week, look carefully at every tree that you pass by; observe the birds and insects that are flying around. I can assure you that you will be amazed by the amount of ‘backyard wildlife’ you discover. It’s exciting, it’s fun, and it’s a fantastic learning experience!

And yes, it would be great if you can share your discoveries on this blog.  We would love to hear of your discoveries! 


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