When the world comes to a standstill due to Corona pandemic, the clear sky and empty streets made us hear the bird songs on the rise. The exciting part is when I listened to some unique calls from the outside world. My curiosity level went up; I peeped out from my window and discovered so many unknown visitors, and our home terrace becomes the new watchtower. It made my worries to fade of cancelling all my birding and nature expedition travel plans for 2020.
So, I got up early morning to track the usual sightings and add-in to my list. I climbed up to my terrace surrounded by the concrete jungle sprouted with few Mango, Neem, Coconut, and Guava trees. There were some regular visitors in the early morning and late evening, and I’m amazed to spot more than 30 species of birds in a day. The next day, I found some different species of birds with their distinct calls, particularly from the eastern direction. First and foremost to spot is our Chennai Bird “Intelligent Crows” happily sitting from the nearby Neem tree pointing towards a compound wall and waiting for a morning morsel kept by an old man every day. The massive number of intelligent crows dominate the urban sky and terrain. They have an excellent memory, good eyesight and relatively long life. Even giant Black Kites unable to give a tough fight with these House Crows. I climbed up to the terrace with my morning filter coffee, and I noticed something in the House Sparrow’s mouth. The male House Sparrow carried cotton in his beaks to give a final touch to the nest. Whereas the female House Sparrow was supervising it.
Slowly, the Orangish Sun ball popped out from the eastern horizon. I zoomed out my eyes to the eastern sky in a viewable distant a small branch with the removed foliage and peeped out from the mango tree was the centre of attraction – I named its a Mango Throne dubbed from a famous Peacock Throne. Typically birds love this kind of branches for two reasons. First, it gives a 360degree view to navigate for the day, and the next one is to spot their pairs easily. On that day, I spotted a Purple-rumped Sunbird though its a small in size, but a clear note which is vibrant and striking. My view was disturbed by a green dragonfly studded in the opposite wall, it hovered and sat on the same place like a granny’s needle stitch. Back to the mango throne, here comes the bird of the day “Indian Golden Oriole” texture resembles like a pulpy mango fresh from the tree.
Now, Red Vented Bulbul occupied the centre throne, and I missed is female pair to my low zooming settings in my camera. In a fully grown mango tree, there comes the Common Myna which is a little angry on me, since I’ve not shown much interest to him. His calls resemble utter harsh notes and droop and shiver their wing. On the up above the sky, a flock of Pelicans zoomed like Rafale planes to the nearby lake. By the time, I can feel the scorch of the hot sun. So, I scheduled the rest of the bird watching in my evening slot.
It started with a romantic evening when a pair of Rock Pigeons were kissing and cuddling on the drip edge of the second floor. They got nervous after seeing my presence and changed their dating location, but they might curse me for sure. In a nearby tree, a squirrel was doing an upside yoga called Shirishasana. The Purple rumped sunbird was casually collecting her nectar whereas the pollen has brushed in the beak. It gave me a practical lesson on how pollination is taking place in day-to-day his life. In the distant sky, a flock of Black Ibises were moving in v-shape formation and returning to their destinations.
The Shikra once viewed in a distant sky, came near to me and perched on the Guava tree. Its fiery eyes and sharpy beak resembles a kiddy eagle to the typical crowd, but Its a small hunter in the raptor family. Shikra the word is taken from Urdu – Shikari meaning hunter. It spotted a helpless rat for his dinner. The Common Flameback with his spiked and coloured his hair must straight from the Salon. He came to the urban jungle to retain his hairstyle for every week he was roaming between the coconut trees. As the sun was slowly touching the western horizon, the evening sky was so beautiful ever than before, the clouds were colourful and looked like a Rainbow cloud. This phenomenon is called Iridescence clouds. The male Asian Koel’s birdcall of koooo-koooo is a sign off tune on that day. Though I made a third shift after hearing the Spotted Owlet call, I’m unable to point it in the night.
Even, I could never believe there are more than 30+ species of birds that can be spotted in a day from my terrace. The final message from nature is Parakeets and Kingfishers have always been there, but we have never noticed them, and this lockdown made us the opportunity to pause and look around us these feathered beauties.