Bird Watching

Home sweet home:a family and its struggle

Home sweet home:a family and its struggle
-Devendra Singh
(Continued from last month)

After a few days the female disappeared inside the nest and the male started sealing the tree hole. One could see the tip of the long beak of the  mother to-be through the small slit in the morning, communicating with her partner, asking for food. The male would fly around getting food and feeding her diligently. Daily he would feed her many things besides leaves. Sometimes he would regurgitate to take out fruit and leaves and give them to the female. It was a great lesson about duty, hard work, love, affection, care, sacrifice, bonding, companionship…… you name it and it was there.Off and on a Myna could also be spotted daringly near the nest, only to be driven away by the female Grey Hornbill who would take out its beak from inside the hole to do so. This continued for about a month or so.

I was overwhelmed by the events of their daily life and would go daily to be part of this process. Sometimes you discover and realize yourself through the nature’s prism and also through your passion and hobbies. It is so intricately woven by the creator in all of us and in nature. 

I was waiting excitedly about the coming days. Sooner than I had expected, I heard the male being greeted with a chirping loving noise from inside the nest indicating that the new ones had arrived. More food for him to carry I guess! The holes remained cemented from the outside with just a small gap for feeding purpose. It was now the duty of the male to protect his family inside the hole. Only the beak of the female was visible from the small slit. It was a spectacle which shall remain engraved in the mind for ever. 


Then came day that I found that the hole had been widened and a feeble looking female was sitting outside on the tree branch. The male joined her as well and both of them started communicating very loudly. The chicks were out! And the parents were still near the nest, standing guard. 

Suddenly there was cacophony and one witnessed a fight between the Mynas and the Hornbills. It was a very fierce. Apparently the Mynas were trying to drive away the Hornbills in the same way that they had been driven away a few months ago by them from that very tree. The Mynas were in large numbers and the fight continued for a while until one final day the Mynas drove away the Grey Hornbills to capture the space. It was such a proud moment as the victorious Mynas pose for the photo shoot while the female Hornbill, weakened by the process of nurturing her family, watched from a close-by branch! This was captured by the camera, thanks to the technology that the bigger and powerful lens which can capture life’s events without disturbing the process.

 As they say there is nothing permanent in life: what was home once for Hornbills had now been captured by the Mynas. The tree was the same, surroundings unchanged, only time had changed to give shelter to a different species to rear young ones. There is nothing constant except constant change. I was wonder struck with the ways of nature.

Now it’s the Mynas turn to propagate on the same spot.  The story has continued and will continue whether we are there to observe, watch and witness it or not. We as humans can be more respectful towards nature as it is the one power which sustains us without making any demandsthereby making life richer and richer: such richness which money can’t buy.

( Concluded-  Read first part)

The author is Devendra Singh, a Naturalist, Bird watcher and Civil Servant with Indian Railways at Delhi.  The pictures were taken at Rail Eco Park, North central Ridge, Chanakya Puri, New Delhi.


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