The amazing nature
N J Ravi Chander
My niece-in-law, H Akshaya, and her kin live in a charming house in Nagarbhavi, Bengaluru, fringed by woods on one side and a lovely lake on the other. Snakes and other small wildlife frequent the place, while the lake bustles with waterfowl. One can also spot peacocks, bulbuls, parrots and other feathered beauties in the vicinity. The residents rise and shine to the musical calls that fill the air at dawn.
A few weeks back, a tree at the edge of the house saw a flurry of activity. A pair of bulbuls got cracking in building a nest with dry twigs and blades of grass. A plastic rag formed the base. The birdhouse, poised between two sturdy branches, took four days to complete. It was a labour of love to accommodate a soon to arrive newborn. Standing on the terrace, we counted ourselves lucky to get a bird’s-eye view of the incredible creation.
Our eyes popped out when three days later, we discovered a single, pinkish-white egg with dark spots. The birds were starting a family! The mother bird brooded over the precious egg and guarded it against predators and the elements. She also resorted to turning the egg at intervals and spread out her wings protectively when it poured. The male worked overtime, bringing food for his mate, besides keeping guard.
Whenever we stuck our necks out on the balcony, the agile parents resorted to a sortie, forcing us to scamper indoors. The mother stirred out of the nest only briefly every day to stretch her wings but seldom took her eyes off the precious egg. The birds became the cynosure of our eyes, and we shot them with the only way we knew – with our camera.
Nature never ceases to amaze, and after a fourteen-day wait, a miracle unfolded. The egg hatched, and twins emerged out of the egg. The delighted parents welcomed the double delights into their fold by making joyful noises. They discarded the broken shells to make the place cosy. With barely a feather, the fledgelings resembled ugly ducklings, but in a few days grew into handsome youngsters.
The parents took turns in feeding them with juicy grubs, and the new arrivals became the centre of their universe. Listening to their constant chirping – suggesting they were conversing about something in bird tongue – was music to the ears. The chicks enjoyed their parents’ undivided attention, which was selfless and unconditional. The senior bulbuls relished the feed we offered them, but their aggressive posture forced us to keep our distance.
As another fortnight sped by, the nestlings began flapping their wings, and it was not long before they took the plunge. When the elders were not around, they glided into the house to explore. We nestled the duo in our palms and took turns to cuddle them. The siblings would prance across the rooms enjoying each other’s company, and we relished their antics.
Our bond with the young ones grew, and we continued to wait on them regularly during the day. There was never a dull moment when they were around. But the best of times often end unexpectedly. We discovered with dismay one morning that our feathered friends had flown the nest. We never got to see the winged wonders again, but their beautiful memories will stay.
(The writer is a former banker and hails from Karnataka. He is a regular contributor to Kashmir Vision)