Pune, February 14, 2021: Our ground floor households more treasure than one. Apart from feeling the earth beneath our feet, we found a healthy mature peepal tree, fig tree, tamarind tree, mango trees, sandalwood trees, amla trees, hibiscus plants and huge neem tree in the front garden area. These are the plants needed for providing food to the birds. We shifted in the house just before the fruiting of peepal and fig tree. We don’t have to travel across the country to be a birder, just take a closer look around your house.
Their melodies and vibrant colours will fill your heart with wonder. Birds are wonderful creatures like us, the only difference is … they can fly. When you observe them, the awareness of how intelligent and sensitive they are is evident. And the more you observe, the more you learn how important they are for our environment.
Our home is home to a wonderful array of birds, the coppersmith barbet, the white-cheeked barbet, the lineated barbet, the white-bellied woodpecker, the greater Flameback, the speckled piculet, the lesser Flameback, the red vented bulbul, the whiskered bulbul, the plum headed parakeet, the alexandrine parakeet, the orange headed thrush, the spot breasted fantail, small minivet, common myna, jungle crow, oriental magpie robin, Indian robin, the purple-rumped sunbird, the purple sunbird, the ashy-wren Prinia, spotted owlet and yellow wagtail.
Black-shouldered kite is seen through a clearing from our rear garden hovering for prey. If you are an early riser and enjoy walking around in your garden or on the roads of Military Institute of Technology (MILIT), you may have heard the melodious tweeting of the oriental magpie robin, which is also the national bird of Bangladesh.
They sing loudly and love the audience. So does the Indian robin. Plum-headed parakeet displays unparallel etiquettes when it comes to eating food. It holds the ripe fig in one hand and eats bit by bit standing on one leg. Its feather colours match with the fig tree and its subtle movement makes it impossible to spot it, unlike the barbets which are flying all over the fig tree and peepal tree jumping and dropping the ripe fruits on the grounds. The figs which fall on the ground are enjoyed by myna, squirrels. The peepal fruits, when got wet with our sprinklers, were so juicy and tasty for honey bees that I never got them removed from my garden floor. Indian Roin n and its other feathered friends are also responsible for controlling the insect population of the cities and keep life them in balance. Gorgeous as these creatures are, it’s tempting to adopt them as pets, but remember that all Indian birds are protected under the wildlife protection act of 1972, and it is illegal to cage any of them.
This was my experience with the avian representatives of nature, and I am sure you can too add colour to your life especially when we are going through the pandemic. They sure will inspire you on daily basis and keep you glues to their daily chores as our chores are not interesting anymore. And most wonderful is to see them enjoy everything they do, whether they are enjoying their food or afternoon siesta. They are always aware of their mortality and dangers around them but they don’t lament rather they cherish each flight and every morsel of food and live fully.
(Shakti Bishnoi is a postgraduate from London School of Business Management. She is an experienced ornithologist, bird watcher and child counsellor. She has reared more than 600 butterflies in her house and the journey continues. She believes in conservation of nature by planting trees.)