I can’t leave the house? I’m confined? What does that mean? Now, how do I entertain myself?

These are probably some of the questions that are on your mind these days. It’s a pretty new situation, one we’re still adjusting to.

Confinement is the forced isolation, for a set period of time, due to a viral disease, which happens under surveillance, and aims at limiting the risk of a possible spread.

This term, which sounded like science fiction to many of us, has become a reality a few days ago. This is how we are today in Ecuador, and in several countries of the world, locked up at home and with a new situation in front of us. The coronavirus pandemic has made us rethink certain things that we would have thought impossible before.This quarantine imposed to safeguard the citizens has submerged us in a new experiment for ourselves: both mental and physical.

However, it has also made solidarity and creativity flourish. English classes through video, yoga, online concerts, interactive museum tours, virtual libraries, activities for children and adults, are some of the alternatives to survive confinement and boredom.

Digital leisure is a perfect alternative to pass the time and we want to present you one to enjoy the fauna and flora without leaving home.

The organization ‘Aver Aves’ has created a game, which does not need any application so that nature lovers do not lose the habit and can continue to enjoy the beauty of the birds.

Photo: The song of the Golden Grosbeak  (Pheucticus chrysogaster) is heard more frequently in the gardens of Quito lately.

How do you play?

Very simple! Just step out onto your balcony and explore your garden or sit at the edge of the window and look at the sky while you look for the birds flapping around you. Once you locate them, take a picture of them and share it on Twitter with the #Avesdesdecasa hashtag. Binoculars and a bird guide will help you identify each species, and if you ask your question online, people will quickly answer.

The fauna and flora surround us every day, they are always there, silent and attentive. The human being, with little conscience, does not realize how lucky he is to be able to live with them. On the contrary, confinement has made it possible to reduce air pollution, light pollution and noise pollution, as well as human flow. This has opened the doors for us to appreciate what we sometimes do not have time to observe and listen to. As in this case, bird watching in our environment, who, a few days after the beginning of the restrictions on movement, have become more present in large cities like Quito where the morning songs of the birds have regained their space and envelop the new urban silence.

The Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus)has a wide distribution in America. In Ecuador it is present from the inter-Andean valley to the paramo (3800m) Photo: Xavier Amigo

Jorge Rico, founder of the game, encourages everyone to join this activity and share their discoveries, as it is not only a form of entertainment, but also an exchange of knowledge about the different species and their environments: areas where they are found, trends, etc.

If you are an active participant and want to contribute to this participatory science contribution, you can always upload your data to the citizen science platform “Ebird” in order to share your findings. The new lists will certainly be less diverse than before but just as interesting in terms of population monitoring.

This game will allow you to fly and will help you to make the confinement not so hard. Rediscover your environment, you will be surprised by the amount of birds you can find. Stay at home and start playing now!

In Quito, during the migration seasons, there are many opportunities to observe migratory birds such as this rare Chestnut-sided Warbler (Setophaga pensylvanica) Photo: Xavier Amigo.

Translation by: Delphine Vandermersch