Category Archives: Birds

Birds of Similar Flock

Some birds like to live in groups with one another. This may be due to the similar food habits of some different birds. Other reasons may be similar nesting patterns. I have observed that in the river beds which is full of brownish sand and assorted sized pebbles birds like Paddy Field Pipits, Crested Larks and Ashy Crowned Sparrow Larks cohabit. One more reason seems to be that their colours match the sand of the bed creating a perfect camouflage.

One day we found together Ashy crowned Sparrow Larks , crested Larks and pipits forage together in the Ghaggar river bed perhaps they are terrestrial birds. I could take a photo of Juvenile Ashy Crowned Sparrow Lark ( in Front) and Paddyfield Pipit in the back in the Ghaggar River passing near Panchkula city of Haryana in India.

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Hope and Anxiety

House Sparrow sized, Baya Weavers are master craftsmen. Their nests are the works of great ingenuity. The summer months transiting into monsoon rains witness the intense activity of nest building by these tireless birds.

It is the male Baya Weavers which are more beautiful as compared to their female counterparts, who construct the nest. The sole purpose of the nest building is to find a suitable partner and make preparations for next generations.

When the nest is in the half way stage, the males invite the females. They make noises and flap their wings whenever female Weavers fly near the tree, these male Weavers flap their wings sitting on their half done nests to attract their attention hoping that one of them may be kind enough to inspect the nest and build a bonding.

One Planet : Seven Worlds

Sir David Attenborough is an icon in the field of wildlife world. He has explored and brought his rendezvous with nature to common man through his extraordinary documentaries. Now he has brought this documentary “One Planet Seven Worlds” which will be on BBC Earth.

Our Earth has 70% water in the form of oceans and 30% landmass. In the beginning, whole landmass was one continuous mass. At that time, lot was happening inside the Earth. Lots of tectonic activity was occurring and lava as it was cooling down was also spewing out.

Tectonic plates were colliding and pushing against one another. Slowly the single landmass began breaking into fragments. Ultimately it broke into 7 stable land masses separated from each other by the water. These are the seven continents. Asia, Africa, Europe, South America, North America, Oceania and Antarctica.

Each continent has unique climate and geology which has given rise to stunning individual bio-diversities on each continent. That is why, Attenborough calls them Seven Worlds. The series will feature remarkable, new behaviour from different continents. From the extremely hot African plains to frozen waters of Antarctica.

He will also touch how we are now destroying the habitat of the wildlife. Due to this, some species are faced with extinction. Forests are being cut, extreme fishing and pollution is threatening our own and the wildlife existence.

Trailer of One Planet Seven Worlds

Introduction features a very soulful song “Out There” by Australian born singer Sia.

“I pray
Yeah, I’m hoping that if I pray
Maybe you’ll talk back
‘Cause I pray for some faith, some faith today

This walk feels longer in the dark tonight
No hand to hold, no hand in sight
I pour my heart out to the blackest sky
Oh, spirit, can you hear my soul’s cry?

Can you hear my call? Can I have a sign?
‘Cause I am losing hope
Yeah, on my darkest night

This walk feels longer in the dark tonight
No hand to hold, no hand in sight
I pour my heart out to the blackest sky
Oh, spirit, can you hear my soul’s cry?

No, I don’t wanna walk alone, I want to believe
‘Cause I am losing hope
As love will speak to me
Can you hear my call? Can I have a sign?
‘Cause I am losing hope
Yeah, on my darkest night

I got a feeling you’re out there
I got a feeling you’re out there”

Video on Youtube Link

Sia Kate Isobelle Furler

Bays Weaver

Birds make nests not to live in but lay eggs and start the next generation. Nests are of wide sizes and shapes, ordinary but practical and ornate type. But the nest of Baya Weaver bird is a work of great craftsmanship. It is made exclusively by male bird in the height of summers in India.

Finished Nest has two doors but there is a catch. When the nest reaches the stage when the vertical door is to start, male bird invites the female who inspects the work. If she likes it and agrees to move in for making a pair for eggs and chicks and next generation. If she reject it, the male is dejected and dismantles the entire work. It then begins to weave another nest.

It is said that Baya Weaver makes more than 500 trips to bring the grass stalks for nest building. The nests are made on the trees like acacia and other thorny trees which makes the entry of predators difficult. They are generally on the trees which are near the water bodies.

Some pictures

Jacobin Cuckoo

Call it Jacobin Cuckoo or Pied Cuckoo or Pied Crested Cuckoo, it is a summer visitor to Indian subcontinent. It comes here all the way from Africa. The bird is called harbinger of rains because timing of its coming here is just few weeks prior to the arrival of monsoon in India. Monsoons bring a relief from the sweltering heat in the Indian states. Parched earth is rejuvenated with torrents of water from rains. Thus this bird is a welcome sign here. It is aptly called Rain Bird also.

It is generally confused with Papiha which in reality is brain fever bird. One can spit this bird in this area. I have taken many pictures of it.

Savanna nightjar (Caprimulgus affinis)

Savanna Nightjar (Caprimulgus affinis) is an Bird which is found in South East India. While on a spotting mission in our area, I was moving about in Ghaggar River in Panchkula. It was in the June month, scorching heat and dry. Bed of the river is almost dry- full of sand and pebbles.

I was just descending a raised bank through the pebbles when three of them flew just from my feet. They are master of camouflage. You will not be able to spot them sitting in the scrub and pebbles until you are looking elsewhere and it suddenly flies from before your feet. But it does not fly very high and sits at other nearby place.

It is a rarity in my area and I hope I was the first to spot them.kkk

I returned to the area many days after that to check whether they are staying here and found them there.

Photo by Ranjit Singh
Photo: Ranjit Singh

Baya Weavers

Baya Weavers are small birds of house sparrow size. The scientific name is Ploceus philippinus. What separates them from other birds is the beautiful nests they weave from the grass stalks, mud blobs.

The name weaver itself justifies the mastery is weaving very elaborate and elegant nests hanging from the branches of very high palm trees, thorny acacia trees. Usually these trees are near the water pools, scrub grasses where they are safe from predators.

It is male domain entirely to make the nest. When it is in the almost halfway stage, they invite the females by flapping their wings and if the female approves the nest, it means that she will reside with the particular male, mate and raise the new chicks. If she doesn’t approve, the structure will be abandoned and weaver will feel dejected and sometimes tore away the nest. It starts making newer one.

These birds come to our area in North India, at the peak of summers and by the onset of monsoon rains, have their nests completed. They visit the fields for foraging the seeds both raw and fallen after ripening.

After monsoons, and winter coming, they migrate to slightly warmer areas like western India where food is available and weather is not harsh.

The birds are gregarious and live in flocks. They can be located from the noises they make.

 

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Black Breasted Weaver

Weaver Birds visit our area when summers are at peak. They stay here, make beautiful nests using the grass stalks and mate and raise the chicks for new generation. Most common are Baya Weavers which make nests on the acacia, palm trees which are difficult for predators to approach.

Birds choose the places to nest in the area where food and water is available and safe from disturbances.

But there is another variety called Black Breasted Weaver. It is master strategist in the choice of the area fulfilling all three criteria. They make different kind of nests and use the long grasses to hang the nests. I accidentally discovered the nest while stopping on the scooter near a roundabout near Ghaggar river bridge in Panchkula Haryana of India.

On the side of road are trenches and crests and a water pool, I saw the nest last year. This year also I saw these nest almost in the same spot. Area is very difficult to approach. I somehow approached at not so favourable distant but still very far for better pictures of this small beautiful bird. It makes nest if the tall reed grass and so much camouflaged that you cannot see it clearly. Only once or twice it sat on the top of dry grass.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peacock: The National Bird of India 

Not for nothing is peacock called the king of birds. It is one of the most beautiful birds. India has chosen it as its National bird.

It is big bird. Females don’t have the beautiful train of tailed feathers. They look drab in comparison. Every part of the body of the peacock is full of beauty except its feet.

There are many myths and fables connected to this bird in India. It is said that Krishna adorns a small peacock feather in his hair because more is most pious and devoid of any sex. It produces ear drops while dancing and the drop is lapped up by the female and she lays eggs.

Of course these are all stories. It is illogical to think that lord Krishna who had innumerable women as his consorts will consider such a choice.

In India peacocks are in plenty. In earlier times, they were commonly found in the villages roaming in the courtyards and sitting perched on the roofs and tree branches. They are commonly found in the plains areas jutting the hills.

There is a forest near my home where they are in plenty. During summer when they dance , it is sign of impending rains.

Here are some photos..

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Little or Small Pratincoles: Beauty in small packets 

There is a river near Panchkula city of Haryana. It is called Ghaggar. Once a mighty river, now it has become a mere shadow of its past. A thin stream of water flows through the large bed made of sand, pebbles and small amounts of clay. Bushes and different grasses like bulrushes grow in its bed.

Here in the beds near running water one can spot these little cute birds only if you look very carefully on the ground because there colour camouflage them in the sand. They keep standing at a given spot for long time. They become quite fearless and allow you to approach quite nearer.

It is called Small pratincole, little pratincole, or small Indian pratincole (Glareola lactea), is a small wader in the pratincole family, Glareolidae. The birds arrived here about three months ago. They have laid the eggs and raised the new generation They lay eggs in the gravel and sand.

Here are some pictures I have taken

Standing still

Chick with mom

Feeding


Squatting