TORONTO -- Usually, the sandy shores along Peru’s Pacific coast can be found crowded with tourists and locals enjoying an afternoon at the beach this time of year.

But the coronavirus pandemic has presented the world with an unprecedented break in routine.

An absence of human activity in beach areas in Peru’s capital city, Lima, have allowed for thousands of Belcher’s gulls, pelicans and other wild birds to congregate.

The birds have started swarming the built-up city areas over the last two weeks since Peru declared a state of emergency and forced most of its 32 million people indoors under strict lockdown measures.

Local biologist Patricia Majluf says the birds’ return is a good example of a positive impact the coronavirus outbreak is having on the environment.

"It's really a good thing, a good thing within all the worrying and the bad situation that is happening right now," Majluf explains in Spanish via a Skype interview from Lima on March 25.

"Of all the impacts of the infamous (coronavirus) pandemic; one of the few positive impacts is giving nature a break."   

It’s believed the birds are also flocking to the area because the lack of fishermen means more fish and other seafood is available for the birds to feed on.

As of March 28, Peru had 580 recorded cases of infection and nine deaths attributed to the virus.

Peru’s bird recolonization isn’t the only example of nature making an unexpected return in the midst of the health crisis gripping almost every part of the globe.

After a nationwide COVID-19 lockdown was put in place across Italy, residents in Venice noticed that the canals winding through their picturesque city were running clear for the first time in years, with fish seen in the water.

The drastic drop in boat traffic due to coronavirus lockdown measures meant sediment in the canals had been able to settle.

NASA and European Space Agency satellites recorded a dramatic decrease in nitrogen dioxide levels across China between January 1 and February 25, the time period during which most of the country was under nationwide quarantine measures to contain COVID-19.


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