Birds

Jangal Me Mor Nacha…(A Story of Peacocks & Peahens)

In 1969, a Bollywood film ‘Shatranj’ with Waheeda Rahman as the heroine was released. It went on to become a hit film. It had a dance sequence performed by Waheeda Rahman based on the song ‘Jangal me mor nacha kisne dekha.’ Literally, this line means “A peacock danced in the jungle; who has seen it?” When you see this video on Youtube, you would find yourself mesmerized by the beauty, grace, and elegance of Waheeda Rahman dancing exactly like a peacock in gay abandon…

That was 1969. In 2015, one can spot peahens and peacocks very easily in Vikaspuri, New Delhi, living out their lives in public just like other common birds, pigeons, bulbuls, and mynahs, and this includes singing and dancing in the rain as well!

Before you jump to conclusions, let me clarify that Vikaspuri is not a forest area. It is, in fact, just any other residential colony of Delhi with independent houses and apartments. But yes, it has been very lucky, ecologically speaking, and now it has a couple of tall trees and a few green parks developed by the government. These trees now provide homes to the various birds we manage to see everyday hopping around on our terraces, balconies, and verandahs.

The sight of these gorgeous birds walking on the roofs on their tiptoes, balancing themselves and stopping themselves from tripping, just like ballerinas, fills me with a strange kind of thrill. It gives me butterflies in my stomach. But this feeling soon gives way to one of sadness, dejection, and humiliation.

A peacock is, after all, our national bird and deserves a certain amount of dignity. It really shouldn’t be seen traipsing around on terraces of city dwellers, drinking water from their overhead tanks, and eating bajra and corn seeds doled out by kind-hearted people.

The forests are all gone and these birds have nowhere to go. They struggle like refugees for survival, just like everybody else….

See the pics below and you will understand what I mean…

Poised like a ballerina…

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Feeling thirsty…

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Now it’s the ladies’ turn…

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Beating a retreat…

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See how she flies…

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Here is a video of a peahen in motion…Just click on the link below.

Dancing peacock with a peahen as audience (a bit disinterested…)

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Here is a video of a dancing peacock. It was made today, 16 May 2015.

Bulbuls In Vikaspuri, New Delhi, India

My interest in photography these days has taken me to a new field of interest: bird watching. I haven’t of course gone out of my way to increase my knowledge in this field. I mean, I haven’t read any books on this subject or visited any bird sanctuaries or gone on special trips away from home. I have simply clicked pictures of birds in situations that I found unusual while going about my own routine activities. I now have a huge collection of pics of pigeons, peahens and peacocks, and bulbuls in different poses.

Here are some interesting observations about Bulbuls.

1. They can be bold and fearless: The other day, a Bulbul landed right on my balcony railing. I felt really honored when I found that she did not fly away even after my inching closer and closer to take better pictures of her.

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2. Bulbuls can rotate their heads to almost 360 degrees just like an owl! I did not know that before.

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3. Unlike pigeons, Bulbuls choose their nesting sites very judiciously and put in a lot of thought and planning. Their nests are camouflaged and cannot be detected easily. They look very sturdy and after the eggs are laid, they are fiercely protective. On 2 May 2015, my sister showed me a Bulbul’s nest inside a small bamboo tree in her balcony garden. It was situated right in the center of the tree, close to its top, surrounded by leaves and branches. I was really excited when I saw a black beak poking out of the nest. I tried to take some pics of the scene, but all I could get on the images was a clump of leaves and twigs, and a dark, black space behind them. So I tried to part the branches a little bit and took some more photos. But it was all in vain; the pics did not show what I saw: the black beak and the bird. I found this strange because with the same camera, at 5 AM, a few days ago, when it was pitch dark, I had managed to get a very good photo of a pair of pigeons. Anyway, I ended up shaking the tree a bit and startling the bird. Suddenly the bird dashed out of the nest! It seemed to be in a combative mode. It sat on the railing close by and chirped shrilly. A second later, another bulbul, her mate, appeared and both of them began chirping loudly with their beaks open. It seemed as though they were hurling abuses at me in Bulbulese…Well, I had to give up my attempt that day of clicking a pic of a Bulbul’s nest.

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4. A Bulbul loves its reflection in a mirror. See how she is pecking again and again on her reflection on this glass window…

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5. Here is the latest update as on 11 May 2015. The Bulbul’s eggs inside that Bamboo tree have hatched and now there are 3 little babies! Using a different camera this time, we managed to get a photograph. It is given below. I feel really touched and blessed. What a wonderful sequel to Mother’s Day of 10 May 2015! May God bless these babies and their parents with long and happy lives ahead…

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 6. Yesterday, 15 May 2015, I tried to check how the babies were doing in their nest.  But their Mom/Dad happened to be close by and from the corner of my eye, I saw a black bird swoop very close to me on the clothes line hanging next to me. I could hear the bird flapping its wings anxiously and chirping very aggressively.  I got scared and gave up.  My husband said, “Let them live in peace. They will let you know when it’s time for the kids to go to school.” Today, I saw the bird with something in her beak sitting near the nest.

 

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