Purple Sunbird: Beauty in Small Package

When winter gives way to spring season, the dormant nature wakes up. Every plant and tree begin to bear new leaves. There is a riot of flowers and many of the birds come back to gorge on flower nectar and other insects which also visit the flowers and plants.

If you happen to be in some garden and near flowering bushes, you will hear calls of a bird but will have trouble to locate the bird itself. This bird is very small in size. It is due to its peculiar sounds it makes and its purple colour, you can locate it. In fact the purple colour is of males. It is even more difficult to pinpoint the females which are entirely different in colour. The bird is only 10 to 12 centimetres long. It has a long curved beak. The color looks different from different angles. Depending on the amount of light reflected because color is due to iridescence. Most of the times, it looks black.

Female sunbird is of olive color. The female and male are so different in appearance that you will think them as two different birds.

If it is not possible to get the nectar directly, they puncture the sepal near the nectar to reach the nectar. Although they predominantly survive on nectar of flowers, they can also eat insects particularly when the breeding season is on and requirements of food high.

Although they resemble hummingbirds but they reach for nectar after perching themselves unlike hummingbirds.

The bird is very agile and darts here and there from one flowery bush to another. Hence it is very difficult to take good photos with ordinary camera.

 

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Sitting on a branch
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Piercing the pod for food
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Female Sunbird
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Female sunbird sitting on a wire
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With an insect in its mouth

 

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Punjab Village during winters

Punjab is called the bread basket of India. A state in Northern Indian plains formed and irrigated by five perennial rivers originating from Himalayas. The land surface is deposited by the alluvial brought up by the rivers. The land is flat, devoid of any geographical features. Standing out in the open in a field you can feel the unending flatness meeting the horizon.

The farmers of the area are known for their hard working nature. Earlier the farming was largely non- mechanized. Bullocks and manual labor was used. Slowly to keep with the times machines like tractors, tubewells and other implements were introduced making the work faster and less manual.

There is hardly anytime of the year when any piece of land is fallow. One after the other crops are grown depleting the natural fertility of soil and making the water usage very high. Insecticides and fertilizers are required in high quantities to make up for loss of natural fertility. The crops have been diversified to vegetables and flowers in addition to the common rice, and wheat.    These are cash crops/

But still the scene in the countryside are beautiful in the winter. There is wheat growing, mustard flowers color the country yellow and tractors filled with cauliflower, carrots, Kinno, radishes and peas are frequently seen.

Let us see some pictures.