Looking into our backyard (or inside our houses) can introduce us to the birds, insects and other life-forms that coexist with us in cities.Natural history experts and enthusiasts are spending time at their windows, balconies and terraces in different cities of India as the COVID-19 pandemic has confined them to their homes.The lockdown period has given rise to some citizen science initiatives and also personal projects that are highlighting India’s urban biodiversity. A lesser flameback woodpecker drums a tree trunk while a pair of brown-headed barbets collect berries for their nest, a shikra swoops down on a gecko and then feasts on it, a group of sweat bees returns with pollen to their underground nests and a squadron of spot-billed pelicans take off to the skies. This collection of sightings wasn’t recorded from a remote landscape or the wilderness. They are usual occurrences amidst residential areas of India’s megacities. Natural history experts and enthusiasts witnessed these sights from their windows, balconies and terraces in different cities of India as the COVID-19 pandemic forced them to stay indoors. On March 24, the Indian government declared a 21-day lockdown and urged citizens to stay at home to avoid the spread of the disease. While some peek into their backyard during the national lockdown to feel at ease, others do it out of curiosity, to contribute to science or just to pass time. Overall, the observations provide a glimpse of India’s urban biodiversity. Aman Sharma, a 16-year-old from Vasant Vihar in New Delhi, was surprised by the bird diversity he found close to home. After a chance visit to his terrace recently, he saw two brown-headed barbets nesting on a tree. “Then I decided to be regular during the lockdown,” he said. “I saw a yellow-footed green pigeon, rose-ringed parakeets, purple sunbirds, the lesser flameback woodpecker and a pair of ashy drongos on the same tree!” Sharma, a vocal youth climate activist, views the presence of multiple bird species as an illustration of the value of a single tree. “One tree in itself is an entire ecosystem. It can survive in urban conditions given that citizens respect its space,” he added.