Monday, December 11, 2017
Friday, December 08, 2017
First, there was only that giant pot placed in the Cinpash Garden for our Peacock and Peahen family.
Then we placed two more on the Boundary Wall parapet for the extended family of pigeons.
Next, we placed a stone water bowl to quench the thirst of Mynahs, the odd peacock that walked by the gate, the pigeons, our street fur babies and a clutch of cats that appeared nocturnally.
When Ibaadat got completed, we hung bird feeders along our perimeter on two sides and we saw the squirrels being the smartest to learn to eat off these contraptions.
Ever since, we have placed a buffet of bowls – big and small, in recycled plastic and terracotta and painted in Ibaadat’s Santorinian Blue – in front of Ibaadat to nestle a belly full of grains and fresh water; we have the magic of May madness being played out throughout the day, around the year.
The squirrels and the pigeons rule the roost here. Now a pandemonium of parrots has acclimatized itself to our environs and has made it their own. They sit on the Neem trees, swing on the lower branches, slide along iron rails. They squawk and screech in delight, and having watched pigeons and squirrels, they too have learned the trick of eating from the feeders and bowls.
A handful of Rufous Treepies, the lone Dove or two, a group of Jungle Babblers come down to feast on the buffet too. Mynahs have not yet learned to invite themselves to the table of goodies laid out for them, but for that one, singular time.
Even the peacocks are more comfortable with “their” own platter placed in the Garden and have never been spotted eating from the parapet bowls. As for the Shikra, that’s begun visiting, I think grains are not his scene. He has been noted eating his prey that he must have hunted.
The exotically beautiful Hornbills have also largely stayed away from the parapet party. But, just the other day, I saw one come down and sit on the top of the rails looking acutely at the grain bowls as if to assess whether our offering was up to their taste or not.
I think it is time I become more mindful of the resident neighbours and guests paying us a flying visit and learn to cater to different tastes and needs!
Tuesday, December 05, 2017
For the last year or so, we have been witness to the visitation from an exquisitely strange looking bird.
It would sit on the top branches of the Neem tree just outside our house, crane its neck that it could shoot out for some distance, rotate it to a 120 degree, round up its red eyes even more and look fear and awe inspiring.
We began calling it the Dragon Bird, for its alien like looks; till some ornithologist friends wisened us up and told us that it was the Indian Grey Hornbill!
I gather the following from Wikipedia -
"It is mostly arboreal and is commonly sighted in pairs. It has grey feathers all over the body with a light grey or dull white belly. The horn is black or dark grey with a casqueextending to the point of curvature of the horn. It is one of the few hornbill species found in urban areas in many cities where they are able to make use of large trees in avenues.
The call is a squealing call somewhat like that of a black kite. The flight is heavy and involves flapping interspersed with glides. They are found in pairs or small groups.
They are almost completely arboreal, but very rarely descend to the ground to pick up fallen fruits, to dust bathe, or to pick up mud pellets to seal the nest cavity during the nesting period. They indulge in various social activities, including bill-grappling and aerial jousting."
Now, the visits, laregely of a pair or at times three Hornbills, have become somewhat more frequent, with at least once a week trips to the Neem tree. I notice that it happens usually on Saturdays. I wonder if there is any correlation; or it may be the very prosaic reason that I ended up sighting them more over the weekend.
We hang bird feeders from the railings and place water and grain bowls on the parapet of the peripheral boundary wall encasing Ibaadat.
Very recently, about two weeks back, I caught a couple of Hornbills descend from their arboreal activities on the higher reaches of the Neem Tree to come and sit on the railing top just outside our gate. Then, one of the them began to slide down towards the grain bowl, but at the slighest hint of an ambient noise, it flew back to its camouflaging place in the thickset of the Neem leaves.
I have seen them looking squarely at me, shuffling back to hide themselves from my Camera, as I go about trying to capture the beauty of these magnificent birds.
While both of us are aware of each other's presence, I cannot say who is more scared and fearful of the other.
But to see them is simply a wonderful sight to behold!