Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Asian Pied Starling protects its home and hearth!

So there was this noisy commotion, this high-strung Drama this afternoon at Lucky Manzil!

The incessant, high-pitched twittering warned that there was danger close at hand. It was a matter of survival. It was about guarding one's home and protecting one's hearth.

I was out in the Front Garden doing what I enjoy the most these days. Armed with my Camera, I was engrossed in capturing my animate and inanimate objects into frames of unbridled fun and immense pleasure.

One of my subjects was this lone bird that sat atop the giant light pole outside the main gate. To begin with, she was oblivious to my intruding gaze but soon the Bird’s eye fell on me and she started to play the tease with me; sometimes looking directly at the Camera, other times turning her back towards me, at one point she got busy preening over herself and picking her feathers, at another moment she wished to hide herself from me and my weapon of disturbance.

Suddenly, she lost interest in me and straightened herself out in sharp attention. There was an unwanted Stranger, a giant threat inching close to the nest she had built on top of the Pole. It was the Cable Man who had come to put up the cable for houses on the other side and he had to get to this Pole to finish his task.

The lone Bird, seeing the looming danger let out loud, rapid shrieks calling out for her family and friends to come and help her in this time of duress. No sooner had she made the first set of calls, there appeared another bird, probably male, who began to raise the alarm along with the first one. Within seconds, there were an army of initially four or five and then about eight to ten birds who flew in to address the situation. They let out loud shouts and chirped in a half-angry, half petrified tone. They all crowded over the head of the man in the hat strung along the Pole. They all flapped their wings and shrieked at him to scare him off.

I sent out my companion to tell him to be mindful of his movements and to be extremely careful of his tools so as not to displace the painstakingly built nest. He assured us that he would not let anything happen to the Nest; but the birds were difficult to pacify. They refused to calm down and let go of the situation till the time the man climbed down and took the ladder and his wares away.

Once the man had moved off, the clutch of birds went away as soon as they had appeared, leaving two birds on the wire; presumably the Man and the Lady of the Nest. They inspected the Nest from all angles - top and bottom, one from the upper wire and the other from the lower one. Once assured that all was hunky dory at the home front, they moved up to the top wire and sat close and looked at each other, and kissed a few times before one of them flew out to finish some business before the Sun set over the horizon.

Sometime later, the other bird moved away too, leaving the Nest safe and secure for now, and to come back to it before the night fell!

And I turned back to get into the house with a disturbing thought needling me. We, in our Bungalows, are in any case far removed from others. But in high rise apartments too we do not care for others, being self-centered, self-consumed and utterly callous about what happens around us.

There are cases of people lying grievously injured on the roads with no passer-by stopping to lend a hand. There are cases of people being found dead in their homes after four days because nobody bothered to check on them. A crime or an untoward incident happens in the house next door and we are, either too busy to look up or too unconcerned to even care.

And here were tiny birds, far lower to us on the Species Pyramid, who within minutes were by the side of the troubled mates, doing their utmost, in their small little ways and showing us that love, caring and bonding is not a matter of size. It always begins with the intent!!!

The birds in this story - Asian Pied Starling.

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