CMRL delivers the promised ‘better tomorrow’ to the common myna ahead of deadline

Updated - June 12, 2024 05:28 pm IST

Published - June 12, 2024 11:42 am IST


To have their nest and raise their young, a common-myna pair has helped itself to a hole in a pier cap at the Metro Rail construction on Perumbakkam Main Road. The image was taken on June 12, 2024. Photo: Prince Frederick 

To have their nest and raise their young, a common-myna pair has helped itself to a hole in a pier cap at the Metro Rail construction on Perumbakkam Main Road. The image was taken on June 12, 2024. Photo: Prince Frederick  | Photo Credit: PRINCE FREDERICK

Inconvenience today for a better tomorrow. That familiar line brings to mind an entity, face red with remorse and hands folded in supplication. This entity delivers that line in a conciliatory tone to homo sapiens. That line cannot be spouted to Acridotheres tristis. For Acridotheres tristis — the common myna, for those who are repulsed by bionomial nomenclature — the promised “better tomorrow” has well and truly arrived in the midst of Metro Rail construction, well before its completion. It has arrived amidst visible TMT roads and partially completed Metro Rail sructures.

The common myna has outsourced nest-building duties to Metro Rail engineers.

One of the parent myna taking food to the young lodged in a hole in a pier cap at Metro rail construction on Perumbakkam Main Road in Sholinganallur on June 12, 2024. Photo: Prince Frederick 

One of the parent myna taking food to the young lodged in a hole in a pier cap at Metro rail construction on Perumbakkam Main Road in Sholinganallur on June 12, 2024. Photo: Prince Frederick  | Photo Credit: PRINCE FREDERICK

Of course, that statement comes dipped in hyperbole. The hole-nesting common myna is not resting on its haunches, and still diligently builds nests. Only that the species is being spared the effort of scouting for crevices to have their nests in and raise their young. It builds nests in spaces provided by Metro Rail construction — that is the latest adaptation story from Perumbakkam-Sholinganallur.

On Perumbakkam Main Road, where a corridor under Phase II is taking shape and where some pillars are crowned with cantilever pier caps and even U-girders, common mynas make their presence felt. Holes in the pier caps are used by these birds as nesting nooks. The number markings on the pillars provide a sophisticated sense of these birds moving into a flat in a high-rise apartment. To illustrate, the image shows a common-myna pair having moved into a hole on a pier cap with an arrowed marking P990 next to it. How about P990 for a flat in one of a cluster of towers in a vertical gated community? As Perumbakkam High Road is organically linked to the “high-ceilinged” IT Corridor, that idea blends into the landscape, both architectural and social.

Anthropomorphism apart, the common myna is a past master at adaptation and an embodiment of resilience. That explains why this hole-nesting species is thick on the urban ground where trees with hollows are wiped off the map with manic vigour.

Man’s hands may break their plans, but the common mynas ensure those same hands rebuild those plans — as the holes in the cantilever pier caps at this Metro Rail construction site illustrate.

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