Reminiscences about birds

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This write-up is a short story describing my feelings and my acquaintance with some of the species of birds in my locality and some wild assumptions about their tireless life cycle and their
struggle for existence in this world. In order to survive they have to perform lot of activities like migration depending on the need of the situation and prevailing natural situations mainly due
to changes in day length, lower temperature, changes in food supplies, and genetic nature. sometimes they have to perform “torpor” or “hibernation” only to conserve energy for future.They have to
suffer a lot of difficulties during migration due the increase in high-rise buildings and the increase in the numbers of aerial flight transportation.There is also an exposure to predators and bird
catchers and extreme weather conditions and natural calamities which makes their migration risky. To sum up there are some assumptions about the struggling life of birds and due to the prevailing
natural conditions are going to endangered state and the state of extinction.We should feel pity for the harmless small creature and help them to lead a safe lifespan and stop them from extinction
since that will disturb the food chain and will subsequently make a disastrous impact on the humans.

Submitted: February 02, 2018

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Submitted: February 02, 2018

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I will like to start the topic about Birds with some of the experiences I have while I had the privilege of staying in touch with some of the species of birds for a short span and I tried to observe their character and tried to come closer to them and experienced some exciting and memorable moments and here I would like to share some of my feelings which I had during that period of their bonding with me. I had a great temptation of petting Parrot and my wish was fulfilled when I found some bird catchers selling Parrots in pairs and without any hesitation, I suddenly rushed to them and bought a pair of Parrots of my choice in a cage. On coming back home, I thought the cage seems to be a small space for both of them and eventually I bought a Bigger Cage two separate containers for their food and water and I was so excited that I almost spent more than 50% of my available time at home with them and slowly started to mix up with them sharing my expressions with them to get more and more closer and subsequently had the following observations about them. Initially, they think anybody as a predator and would think that the humans are coming towards them only to harm them and they made typical expressions to frighten or a sense of fear which cannot be expressed in words. Slowly and slowly, when I could make a wild guess of their expressions, I was able to get acquainted with their behavior and started feeding them with my own hands and they started accepting the same. At that moment, I could feel the height of satisfaction getting positive response from them. Also to make them feel that they are not trapped and still attached to the nature, I started keeping them hanging with the cage at the backside of my house so that they can communicate with the other Parrots coming to a Guava tree near that place. Sometimes when they were dirty we would spray little water on them in the Sunlight so that they can take a bath and keep them clean. Now as the time passed by, they started to perform normal behavior and even playing inside the cage and doing Gymnastic and sometimes making some noises and also responding to the outside free birds. With greatest delight I was enjoying every moment of my free time with them and communicated with them in my way and observing their behavior. In the day time they used to perform all the activities inside the cage but by the evening they preferred to go to Torpid State or Sleep cautiously. The only disturbance they faced was from the jumping of the intruder Cats who used to sneak past the windows and frighten them. The days passed on with lots of excitement and enthusiasm with them but suddenly after passage of some days, we observed that one of the pair which was a female parrot was infected and started refusing the foods of their liking and very rarely she was opening her eyes fully which made us worried a lot and as a result we went to Veterinary Doctors with her symptoms who prescribed some medicines to be taken mixed with the food we feed. We then followed the doctor’s instruction and persuaded the female parrots somehow to eat at least some of those but most of the time she would tuck her bill onto her shoulder and sleep. All our family members were very upset with the situation and we tried to dedicate more and more time so that she gets cured very soon. Sometimes she would show the indication of recovery but to our utter dismay, her condition was deteriorating and suddenly one day early in the Morning we found her not responding any more. We took her out of the cage and tried to get her response and also pumped her lungs a bit, But to our desperation her body was found stiff though the body temperature was about 25 Deg Celsius. That was very shocking for us and specially my Son who was sleeping at that moment and we didn’t had the courage to answer him and when he asked about the female parrot, we replied that it flew away and actually we thought it flew away to the heavenly abode. Even her male partner showed signs of desperation which was evident from his behavior. Slowly with the passage of time the situation started tending towards normalcy and the male parrot started responding to our communications and would play by rotating Clockwise or Anticlockwise in a cyclic pattern to show his enthusiasm when he was happy. Sometimes he would hang with one leg and sleep. We gave a pet name to him and surprisingly we noticed that when we called him by his new name, he would listen carefully by moving his neck and eyes and sometimes responded and when our bonding was getting more and more firm, the same infection also affected him and started giving delayed or no responses to our desperation. We then decided to release him from the cage so that he would lead his free life and when he was released, we were surprised to notice that he had little intention of flying away and preferred staying inside the house with us. Initially he was a little afraid and would hide in some isolated place but slowly it started approaching near when he was fed but at night he was again put inside the cage to save him from the intruder cat. After a day or two, to our disappointment he was getting critical with his disease though we followed the Vetenery Doctor’s instruction and gave him medicines with food. To our helplessness situations, God has thought off some other plans for him and he too one day left us for heavenly abode and we were very much annoyed and could not believe our eyes. It took several months to persuade and console ourselves after the loss of the Parrots. That was one of my most heartfelt moments of desperation in my life and I still ponder about those remarkable moments with the parrots.  

The next experience with the birds was while observing the total breeding process of a Red Vented Bulbuls who took the shelter inside my garden very near to my Bedroom Window which made my observations more substantial. One day I was pointed out by my wife that the bulbuls are making shelter inside our Garden area on the branch of a small tree where they were collecting Straws, Twigs and other scrap materials required to make their shelter and they used to come very often in the process of preparation of their shelter and the frequency of their arrival increased when they observed the selected place safe from all types of disturbances. We were very much excited to get the opportunity of their activities by peeping through the bedroom window hardly around 3 feet away from the nest. We could observe the couple communicating amongst them and during that phase there was a tremendous bonding between the couples and while one was building & weaving up the shelter the other was guarding it from distant and was communicating accordingly among themselves and on sensing any trouble they would fly to a bigger tree nearby but having a vigilant observations on their nest. In this process, they were able to complete their nest and the female Bulbul took the shelter there while the male was very much observant and he would bring and carry food for the female and supply it in the nest. The visit of the male bulbul became very frequent and after a span of every 30 minutes he was observing the female and was very vigilant and careful of the surroundings. Now I was very much excited to observe their behavior and responses and to our surprise after few days, we found that the female laid three eggs and was covering the eggs by fluffing their wings and body to keep it secure. The birds also observed our reactions time and again and somehow became confident that we are not going to harm them/their shelter and the laid eggs and keeping this thinking in mind. Sometimes both the male and the female would leave the nest in search of food and that time it was our duty to guard their nest and the laid eggs. During that span, it was a great experience to observe the attitude of the birds and those feeling cannot be expressed in words unless and until it can be observed with our bare eyes. In a day or two we were surprised to notice that the new born birds were born and they would not imagine during their birth that they have to lead a struggling and vigilant life in order to survive. After a day or two we were again astonished to notice that the new born birds were carried by their parents to a bigger tree branch so that they can be more safe but the visit of the parent birds to our garden area continued for a long time till the young one could stabilize and get acquainted with the nature. Slowly and slowly their frequency of visits reduced and finally to our utter dismay they probably shifted to a new place. That was also a memorable experience for us and I still feel we had a great opportunity to observe their breeding process and sometimes I still feel what may be the reason for which they were bound to leave our garden area and probably that is due to the law of nature and the Struggle for Existence.  

Another experience with the innocent creatures of Nature (Birds) was the regular visit of Baya weaver (Babui as we called it) inside our garden area to make nest and take shelter specially on the branch of a Christmas tree inside our Garden Area. It used to collect Straw, Twigs and other scrap and build its nest and surprisingly the nest after it was prepared was worth watching and they had the tremendous skills of preparation and weaving of the strands of grass/straw for the nest and after giving the finishing touch, it used to take the shelter but keeping a vigilant eye on the surrounding. But the stay didn’t last long due to turbulent and freaky weather, its nest got disturbed and as a result, it was bound to shift to some other place. This episode was repeated for 3 to 4 times and every time the result was the same. I would sometimes think about them being free to move and stay anywhere in this world but if we think of the other side, we find that their instability of movement and shelter would make their life very difficult and struggling to cope up with the nature though they are gifted with some special skills for their  survival.

Once a new born Indian Mynah got entrapped inside our residence and maybe due to damage of the nests made by the parent Mynah, they might have been carried by the parents and dropped to that place thinking the place secure for shelter. When we discovered about the matter, we had a soft corner for the new born Mynah and started feeding the same since it was unable to fly and our help made the child feel secured and it slowly started to get accustomed with the new environment and we started devoting more and more time to the little Mynah and used to keep it to a safe place near to the place where it was dropped by its parents so that the parents wouldn’t be annoyed and feel secured to see its recovery. Suddenly, after a lapse of 3/4 days to our utter dismay, the little innocent Mynah was found missing from our house. Probably, seeing the improved condition of the little one, the parents might have taken it back to a new shelter. By that time, we had a feeling that we were unable to make the little Mynah stay for a longer span and probably that was against its natural behavior to lead a free life in open air without any bindings. Still we were satisfied that we could help the little innocent creature to stay alive and lead a peaceful life.

One more episode I still remember was with a species called Spotted Munia. Once again it was found that a spotted Munia got trapped inside our residence and could not fly properly due to its injured feathers and leg and it got frightened when it sensed our presence. We tried a lot be friendly with it but every time we approached towards the Munia, it got frightened and moved away. After a lot of attempt, it was tired due to injury and I was able to hold it and rolled my hands over the injured feather and leg to smoothen its pain in order that the Munia would feel secure with our presence. Then we tried to heal the wounds by our own methods and kept in inside the same old cage as previously stated. Slowly, the bird started recovering from the injury. After the complete recovery, we had a thinking at the back of our mind that probably we are depriving the bird of its freedom and one day we kept the cage outside our house and kept its doors open so that it can fly away whenever it proposes to leave. Initially, the Munia was not confident of its recovery and preferred to stay inside the cage but later after gaining the confidence it flew away to the open sky and left us dejected. Same as the above case of Munia ,once a bird similar to red billed Chough got trapped inside our residence and was not able to trace the escape route because of its injury and somehow we could catch hold of the bird and put it inside the same cage and we tried to heal its wound to regain its stability by all the means we could provide. But this time we were surprised to notice that the bird was very much frightened to remain inside the cage and struggling a lot to explore an escape route and in the process the injuries were not getting lessened. At that moment, we were again forced to conclude that we are probably destroying its freedom against the nature’s law and then we decided to release it to the open atmosphere and I took it out from the cage and kept the bird on the branch of a tree in my garden area and observed that the bird after gathering some confidence somehow flew in an unstable manner to a larger tree branch nearby and took a deep sigh of relief.

In the vicinity of my residence specially at the backside of my house here there is a Guava and Papaya tree, there is a huge gathering of a large numbers of birds which gather mainly to eat the ripened Papaya and Guava and the species of birds who comes to take the advantage of that are listed below:-

  1. Parrots of different variety.
  2. Dove
  3. Pigeons
  4. Kuruvi
  5. Magpie robin
  6. Crow
  7. Jungle Babbler
  8. Asian Koel
  9. Baya Weaver
  10. Indian Mynah
  11. Red Vented Bulbuls
  12. Eurasian Magpie
  13. Spotted Munia

Sometimes some unknown varieties of varying colour and nature also comes and they are really worth watching and I still belief that the released birds from my cage comes and visit our place to see the place where they were treated as a special guest for a momentary span of their life. At my residence, I have also kept and uneven surface to store water only for the birds so that they can quench their thirst and take bath as per their requirement and I am surprised to see that my wishes are regularly fulfilled by them. I had a special interest for watching the birds and observe their response towards our communications to them and I try to observe them carefully whenever I visit any Bird Sanctuary. I specially remember the Bird sanctuary at Ramooji Film City near Hyderabad where all the Bird samples specially the parrots were unaware of the presence of Humans and had no signs of fear and moreover they were kept in the open atmosphere and we were able to see them carefully from a distance of hardly a foot from them. From the communications of birds, I suddenly remember about a moment when an Asian Koel was sitting on a tree near my house and singing so as to give indication about the invention of a new shelter because of its brooding parasite nature or may be to attract a female Koel and on hearing the cooing I started to imitate it and whenever I would imitate it, its cooing becomes more louder synchronizing my imitation. After a while I observed that it became silent and was eagerly searching for his counterpart and flew to another tree and started Cooing.

I had developed the habit of feeding the birds coming near the vicinity of my residence and initially they were in doubt of some birder’s trap but slowly with the passage of time they could gather the confidence that I was feeding them voluntarily and they started to respond and now-a-days I find that they are so much accustomed and habituated with my feeding that every morning after getting up and coming out of my house, they would observe my presence from a long distant trees and Electric pole wires where they were sitting and comes near me in flocks and making exciting message of welcome and would wait for me to give them the rice grains and gleefully starts to accept the same and that makes me reach the height of satisfaction so much that it cannot be expressed in words. The birds comes for getting fed are mostly Pigeons along with some Doves, Indian Mynah, Jungle Babbler and Crow and thus the habit of feeding them has become a part of my routine work in the morning.

From the above experiences of my bonding with the innocent creatures of Nature, I could gather certain characteristics about them which I would like to mention in the following parts:-

Birds generally perform a Torpid State for a shorter duration or Hibernation State for a longer duration by decreasing their metabolic rate and conserve Energy for future due to Scarcity / Unpredictability of Food Supplies and due to Extreme weather conditions depending on the need of the situation and their body sustainable criteria. Sometimes the state of Torpor and Hibernation becomes risky for the birds but have these special characteristics only as a part of struggle for survival. A bird, reduce their metabolic rate while sleeping at night and conserve a lot of energy and also utilizes solar energy while “Sunning. Birds have an oil coating on their skins and feathers and specialised insulation on their legs which helps them to maintain their body temperature of approximate 40 deg Celsius. They also try to maintain a fat reserve so that they can derive extra energy if required. Some of the special features adopted by the birds to cope up to the environment are Fluffing which makes their body insulation more, Tucking of their bills in shoulder to breathe warm air, Shivering to increase body metabolism and warm them, Roosting adjusting their spaces in a confined space which makes them warm and safe.

Birds sometimes used the direction of Sun for Navigation and some use the Radar Technology in air and some uses vibration through water to stay away from predators and high rise obstacles. Birds with longer bills enhance its blood flow through the bills so that the heat exchange and cooling down process becomes slow and when the body temperature is attained it again normalizes its blood flow. Also some birds carry out the migration process at night using stars as navigator to stay away for predator and stiff weather conditions.

 It is worth watching looking at the Migration of specially the geese moving in a pattern and in flocks and I am very much attracted to see the migration of any birds in the skies specially near the sanctuary and near the lakes and I still remember the instance when I was traveling by train and while passing near the Chilka lake, I discovered that the beautiful Flamingos were flying in the vicinity and the view was just Mesmerizing. Also the view of Pelicans standing on one leg in many of the sanctuaries is really worth watching. I would like to conclude this part of my experience and thinking about the birds and I would request the readers to have a soft corners for the struggling birds and extend our help and try to stop them from getting endangered or Extinct by whatever means they can since their existence makes this world a beautiful place to live in and they also balance the nature and Food Chain. I hope the readers of this short story will have a little more sympathy for the endangered species of nature and help them accordingly for their survival. I assure the readers that I will surly come up with the second part when I can gather some more interesting bonding and information about them..................

 

 

 

 


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