Friday, 29 April 2016

Happiness in Feathered Bundles

All these years, I have only known the presence of three birds in my

The first are my pet pigeons. A pair appeared one day, out of nowhere, and built their nest in the gap of a ceiling. Now they are one big family. 

The second is a large family of House Sparrows.  

They are permanent residents now and have multiplied so much in due course that I have lost count.

And the third is the Common Myna, apart from the common crows of course.

The Asian Pied Starling or the Pied Myna 

A Dove cozily taking shelter from rain on the Neem tree.

I was too busy with work and life in general to really take the time to look around. The hectic schedule at work and a busy social life left me with very little time to discover a beautiful side of nature - lovely creatures right at home. To be with nature I would always take a trip to some resort, wildlife sanctuary or some quiet country side.
The dainty Dove 
The pair of Doves now mostly sit on the Neem tree. While I am writing this, I can see they are busy making nest. They will soon have babies.

The Crimson-Breasted Barbet or the Copper-Smith Barbet

Then one day I fell ill. It gradually became worse and I had to be in complete bed-rest . I was devastated. I could not move out of bed or turn even on my sides without help. I went into depression. Forget reading or writing, I even stopped answering phone calls.

The Red-Vented Bulbul

I would lie in bed upstairs, constantly gazing at the garden through the window, watching the season change. The Neem tree by my window stood by me throughout, witnessing my pain, giving me strength. 
The Blue-Throated Barbet

It was mid summer and a lovely shower had just washed the garden. I saw a dove perched cosily on the neem tree, taking shelter from the rain. I called out to my husband and asked him to hand me my camera which was just lying around gathering dust. And that is when I clicked the first photo of a bird.

It triggered the first ray of hope in me.

The Oriental Magpie Robin. It can sing in several different tunes. The best tunes are the ones just before sunrise and sunset.

Then I clicked another, and yet another. Looking at these images made me feel better.

Then I would look around for more doves, but to my surprise, along with the pair of doves I noticed a tiny black and white bird too. I was overjoyed. I had something to look forward to. What would I see tomorrow? Would the pretty little black birdie or the green one visit again?

The Rose-Ringed Parakeet, eating flowers of maize in my garden

I no longer felt depressed. I wish I had realized earlier that these sweet little birds could come to mean so much to me.

The Black-Hooded Oriole

I had to then leave the city for treatment. A month later, I returned home, but was once again bound to my bed for a month. Gradually, I started to walk and move a little. Now I could sit on the balcony and on the terrace for short periods. But what I saw there was beyond my imagination. My joy knew no bounds. Words fail me as I narrate what I saw.

 The Black Drongo, a courageous bird. It attacks any predatory bird to protect the smaller timid  birds.

There are beautiful birds sitting on the Apple Blossom(Pink Shower) or the Sheesham tree right next to me! They fly away to collect insects or fruits from nearby trees, but they always come back to perch themselves again on the trees by my side. Some just show up once in weeks for a few minutes. Sweetly enough, my presence didn’t seem to bother them at all.

The Yellow Footed Green Pigeon

Watching them and clicking their pictures became my hobby. Every morning I would sit on the corner of my terrace and wait for different species to show up. Now I no longer miss the busy life I was leading. My depression slowly gave way to happiness and hope; and all this by just looking at these lovely little innocent feathered creatures go about their business!

The Chestnut-Tailed Starling or Grey Headed Myna

Guwahati city is rapidly turning into a concrete jungle. Trees are being cut, hills are being pulled down to make highways or erect high-rises. Jungles and wetlands are being encroached on by humans, chasing away the fauna. We humans have been so insensitive. Till now, I was completely unaware of the fact that my neighbourhood, the heart of the city, was home to so many species of birds. 

The Javan Myna

Just a few flowering trees can shelter so many species of birds in our gardens and in our cities! Although my garden had quite a few fruit and flowering trees, I have ordered and planted a few more now. I hope more birds can enjoy and make these their homes here. 

The Crimson-Breasted Barbet or the Copper-Smith Barbet

I feel contented. In the darkest of hours, hope shines like a bright ray of sunlight. It’s up to you to look for it and seize it.

A pair of Chestnut-Tailed Starling. They are known to whistle back in exactly in the same tune as humans.

Here are some of the nests I could discover in my garden. This is Indian Rosewood tree (Sheesham tree) stands tall at the gate for over 28 years. 

The Barbets and Chestnut Tailed Starlings chisel out holes inside trees to build their nest.