KeepTheHabit

In love with Nature

Avinash Shekhar  

Drenched in shades of metallic purple and blue, a bird slightly smaller than the house sparrow, hovered over the flowers of yellow oleanders, occasionally probing the flowers with its proportionately long and slender curved bill, trying to steal its nectar stealthily – that was my first encounter with the Purple Sunbird. Though I had seen it earlier, it was the first time I had noticed it. No sooner had I noticed it, it noticed me and disappeared without the slightest courtesy of extending an apology for intruding into my property.

The pan India Lockdown had taken effect from 25th March. Among many of the outcomes, one significant outcome has been that free humans have turned inmates and nature has been released from captivity. Nature seemed to be at its flamboyant best as the period juxtaposed with the spring season. With plenty of time to do nothing, I lounged over my balcony or strolled on my terrace observing the birds of my surroundings. I had the least idea that it would grow so enchanting. Long before, the famous ornithologist Salim Ali had written, “Indeed pleasure can be derived from the most everyday birds in the most everyday surroundings and even the jaded city dwellers can regale his leisure hours without the necessity of going far afield in search of special opportunities.”

As India progressed from Lockdown 1.0 to Lockdown 3.0, my inquisitiveness fuelled me further and nature didn’t disappoint me either. The common birds were observed more keenly and I started to gather more information. One such information was that the Purple Sunbird turns bright purple only during the breeding season to woo its female counterpart. There are birds that woo their female counterparts with sweet voice modulations,for example the Rufous Treepie or the Asian Koel. The empirical evidence provided by nature and the same observed during the period clearly suggests – it’s a tough task.

It is the sighting of exotic or rather rare ones that makes my day. The rare ones that I had the fortune of watching include the White Breasted Kingfisher, Black Hooded Oriole, Oriental Magpie Robin and the Indian Grey Hornbill. Every song or bird’s call is given more attention by me nowit is an invitation to look out for a bird not seen before. In one such attempt, the sound of persistent pecking on the wood led me to discover the Black-rumpedFlameback also known as Lesser Golden-backed Woodpecker.

There have been a few remarkable changes in one’s behaviour these days. We have turned more human and our habits more humane and I am not untouched by these changes. The constant bird sounds that seemed like a morning alarm earlier feels like music to the ears now. No day passes by without ensuring that feeding trays and the water bowls are full. A small duplex, nesting box of cardboard, has been placed for the birds to occupy. However, it’s been two weeks but the prime real estate has found no takers, maybe an indication of the slowdown in economy. Yet, I am not disappointed and these habits and the hobby are here to stay as the stargazer is a birdwatcher now.

(The writer is a student  in Bihar)


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Printable version | Jan 20, 2022 11:46:49 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/marketinghub/keepthehabit/in-love-with-nature/article31813957.ece

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