There are so much diversity in the birds. They differ in size, color, feeding habits. Many birds have adapted themselves to live in different climates and habitats. Such birds are found almost in all corners of the globe. But there are certain birds which are specific to specific habitats.
One category of the birds is called birds of prey or raptors. They hunt the smaller birds for their food. They have keen eyesight, strong talons and beaks. They can take smaller birds in flight, sitting . Some specialise in catching fish and snakes , lizards and squirrels. Some even survive on the rotten flesh of carcasses.
Some examples of the raptors are falcons, eagles, buzzards, kites , ospreys, owls.
During my outings for wild life photography in my area, I have come across some raptors. Their pictures are given below
Oriental Honey Buzzard
Side and top
Staring at me
The list is not exhaustive. I will add more raptors in another post.
It is the winter season here in North India. The place where I live is adjoining the hills of Himachal Pradesh. During severe winters, many birds from these hill areas come down to adjoining plains which are relatively warmer.
There is a forest near my residence. These days lots of Alexandrine Parakeets and Rose Ringed Parakeets are present in this forest. Their flocks fly from one tree to another searching for the cavities in the tree branches for making nests.
Photography is my hobby. I do mostly Wild life photography. Over the time I have photographed many indian birds. I happened to see stories told through Adobe’s Spark Notes software. I made one using my own material. The story can be accessed by clicking the link below.
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.
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.
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.
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.