Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Close encounters of the bird kind
The best moments in birding are probably when you get so close to birds that you can reach out and touch them. Our garden and the Gulmohar tree growing in front of our home, is frequented by Koels, Ashy prinias, Sunbirds and Red-vented Bulbuls. I have seen bulbuls pluck caterpillars from the Oleander tree and bang them on the wall and eat them from a meter away. The Ashy prinias are the best. If you sit still enough the bird comes to you. Calling out its jingling and chiming notes merrily. After mum waters the plants a prinia comes regularly to drink water from little pools and drops dripping from the ferns. Once it hopped across the little garden and came ever so close to me, that I could see every feather and every mark on its body. Give a sudden jerk and it flits away into the neighbour’s garden, out of sight. The morning glory creeper gives a shudder and you know it’s another Prinia bouncing among the tendrils. The creeper hides our drawing room window, so you can see the bird from the room separated only by a glass pane. The bird is totally oblivious to your presence and goes on hopping about and suddenly stops directly in front of you and you are staring it in its eye. I love these close encounters and every time they happen I can't stop smiling for the rest of the day! And recently a Prinia was stitching two leaves together in the Ixora tree with a strand of dry grass. I could see it punching holes in the two leaves with its beak. It however abandoned making the nest. Perhaps the leaves were too tough to hold together.