Tuesday, January 31, 2006

To know oneself as we know another

"When birding one morning at sunrise, I asked a bird I didn't know if he knew what kind of bird he was himself, and he said he didn't but he could always tell another bird of the same kind when he saw one." - Robert Frost in Antaeus - Journals.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

The Ostrich

Ogden Nash

The ostrich roams the great Sahara.
Its mouth is wide, its neck is narra.
It has such long and lofty legs,
I'm glad it sits to lay its eggs.

Monday, January 16, 2006

I drew these pictures out of photos a long time back. Got them scanned and uploaded them.

Gannet: drawn from photograph in Sunday magazine- The Hindu
20 march 2004

Kestrel: Drawn from photograph in the book'The gift of birds' published by National wildlife federation(U.S.A)

21 june 2005

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Bird Brain.

The scene: a traffic light crossing
on a university campus in Japan. Carrion crows and humans line up patiently, waiting for the traffic to halt.

When the lights change, the birds hop in front of the cars and place walnuts, which they picked from the adjoining trees, on the road. After the lights turn green again, the birds fly away and vehicles drive over the nuts, cracking them open. Finally, when it’s time to cross again, the crows join the pedestrians and pick up their meal.

If the cars miss the nuts, the birds sometimes hop back and put them somewhere else on the road. Or they sit on electricity wires and drop them in front of vehicles.

Read the full article on these bird brains here

Friday, January 13, 2006

Breakfast---- P.H. Kilby

Good morning little earthworm,
Said the speckled thrush,
Where would you be going,
So early in a rush?
I’m off to find some breakfast,
He answered with a frown.
Well so am I sir, said the thrush
And quickly gulped him down.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

And if you thought my puns were bad...look things are getting verse

The Seagull
Ogden Nash.
Hark to the whimper of the sea-gull;
He weeps because he's not an ea-gull.
Suppose you were, you silly sea-gull,
Could you explain it to your she-gull?

You can tell these birds anything and they'll believe you...They are pretty Gull-ible.

Friday, January 06, 2006

The Mystery of the Missing Merops

As early as October each year, we'd find our colony invaded by swarms of small green bee-eaters (M. orientalis), like I mentioned last year in this post. They were especially fond of one tree one road away from us, and they' d raise quite a din settling down for the night, every night of the winter.
They're missing this year. Just the odd ones are here but nowhere near the hundreds we saw last November.


Arjun, I have a riddle for you.

Q: Why did they fire the offcial at the bird sanctuary?

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Rhyme, no reason

Doing pomes, are we? Chalo, meri baari. Found this one in BBC's Wildlife magazine, September 2003. Part of a poetry contest organised by the magazine and Poetry Please, Radio 4.

Birds keep flying

in and out of my poem,
perching on the adjectives,
nesting between the lines.

They strut about
on long spindly legs
looking for worms
with their big beaks.

Their songs
are the most beautiful colours.

One of them is flying upside down.
I think that means
it feels at home.

I wouldn't mind, only
I had forty-eight lines on the nature of life
that they've pecked to ribbons,
and their droppings
have messed up all the rhymes.

I'm afraid they'll have to go.

-Michael Swan

First words

What shall I say first? Much clearing of throat happened; weighty words of welcome were being considered. Fortunately for all of us, fellow-contributors have set the tone with Nash (of whom I'm told there is an endless supply) and Richard Edwards, poet of great felicity. Hurrah!

As you, sharp reader, will have guessed: this blog is about birds, birding, birders. And what fun we will have!

So, there's nothing for it but to imitate one's betters and declare: Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!

The Birdwatcher's First Notebook-Richard Edwards

Monday- to the reservoir,
Real beginner’s luck,
Saw a quack-quack-quacking thing,
Think it was a . . .. grebe.

Tuesday- to the farmyard,
Only mud, but then,
Saw a cluck-cluck-clucking thing,
Think it was a . . . partridge.

Wednesday- out at midnight,
Tom-cats on the prowl,
Heard a twit- twit- twooing thing,
Think it was a . . . nightingale.

Thursday- to the seaside,
Weather grey and dull,
Saw a big white wailing thing,
Think it was a . . . spoonbill.

Friday- brown bird on the lawn,
Outside in a rush,
Saw a worm tug-tug-tugging thing,
Think it was a . . . pipit.

Saturday- to the heathery moor,
Scanned the sky and hark!
Heard a trill-trill-trilling thing,
Think it was a . . . curlew.

Sunday- tired of Birdwatching,
Made a bamboo wicket,
Asked some friends round,
cadged a bat,
Had a game of . . . football.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The Duck

Ogden Nash.

Behold the duck
It does not cluck.
A cluck it lacks.
It quacks.
It is special fond
Of a puddle or a pond.
When it dines or sups,
It bottoms ups.