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Bird-watching opens path to many possibilities

Growing interest in hobby leads to changes to lives, as well as to minds and habits.

China Daily | Updated: 2024-01-27 10:04

Wang teaches children bird-watching. [Photo provided to China Daily]

The diversity of landscapes in Yunnan provides a variety of habitats for approximately 1,000 bird species, both local and migratory, which contribute significantly to the area's ecotourism.

Acquiring knowledge of birds from his father-in-law, Hou Tiguo, the area's pioneer bird guide, Ge transitioned from a career in finance to bird-watching tourism in 2016. Now, apart from offering lodging and bird-watching guidance, he and the other villagers also do things like providing nature education and selling local specialties.

Birds offer much more than meets the eye. The practice of birdwatching resonates differently with different individuals. Over the past 10 years, Li Jieying, an educator at Qiming School in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, has taken around 30 students with vision loss on bird-watching expeditions, engaged in bird-related contests and taken part in bird-conservation activities.

"When guided to appreciate birdwatching, sometimes, students with vision loss will depend on the birds' songs to identify them," Li says.

Li explains that the students can distinguish approximately 30 common bird species, and that some of her students with a keen musical sense can even replicate bird calls with remarkable precision.

Her goal is to draw the children nearer to nature and she believes that they are not as reliant on assistance as might be presumed.

"The idea of bird-watching by people with vision loss might sound astonishing, and the children might question their ability to participate. But once they immerse themselves in the activities, they discover that they possess strengths their sighted peers do not," she says. "This gives them a sense of achievement and self-assurance, and demonstrates that their vision loss need not obstruct their abilities".

Huang Lingli contributed to this story.

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